Can You Separate Art From the Artist?

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Question of the Day (QOTD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a film/TV-related question that we put to you, the reader. The comments section below is like the feedback box at  work; except, in this example, we actually read what you write and care about what you have to say.

This week, I’d like to turn your attention to an area of discussion that I think can generate some interesting debate: the topic of separating art from the artist. Recently, there has seemingly been more and more information or allegations coming to light about unsavory or even illegal actions by people in the entertainment industry. Also, we know more about celebrities today with social media and instantly uploaded videos. Personality and beliefs are out there even more today than ever. There are numerous examples, but I wanted to speak about one of the biggest artist that’s an issue for me.

Roman Polanski is one of the pre-internet examples of someone arrested and pleading guilty for sexual assault of a minor and then fleeing the country before sentencing. I can admit I struggle separating art from this particular artist. I watched and enjoyed Rosemary’s Baby before finding any of this information out and to this day that is the only film of his I have seen. After learning of his actions, something inside of me has just simply made me avoid watching anything else of his. The thought of an adult sexually assaulting a minor just sickens me. However, I absolutely loved Rosemary’s Baby and think it is one of the best horror movies of all time, but again I haven’t seen in maybe 20 years. I have asked myself if I would still enjoy it the same way I did before learning of Polanski’s crimes. Also, I want to watch Chinatown, but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on doing so.

My question to you is: Are you able to separate art from the artist?

Especially in today’s world of so many allegations, founded or unfounded, being thrown out about so many different past and present artists, does it even phase you? We have all heard about the “degenerates” running rampant in Hollywood (meaning the entertainment business in general), so wouldn’t it be easier to not even try to keep up with who does what? Seems like we wouldn’t have much to watch, read or listen to if we did. Is ignorance truly bliss in this situation? I find myself almost feeling hypocritical if I don’t hold every artist to the same standard.

It may not even be criminal actions, it could just be personal beliefs or preferences. In today’s social media, right at our fingertips media world, we know more intimate things about today’s artist then we did 20 or 30 years ago. Does knowing these artist today so well play any impact into your ability or inability to separate art from the artist?

Below I have several other questions to help go a little deeper, if you guys are willing:

For those of you who are unable to separate art from the artist, can you give some examples of who and why?

Do you have a line or a standard of certain actions or beliefs that would make you unable to separate the two? What are they?

Does personal preference come into play for you depending on a certain artist? If you just don’t like the person or their work, is it easier to be done with them while claiming the actions as the cause?

For those who are able to separate the two, can you tell us why or how you do? Have any of the actions from any artist even given you pause to enjoying their work?

Is there any action by an artist that would make you reconsider? What would it be?

Alright wasteoids, I know this can be a tough subject, but let me know what you think in a civilized manner while respecting each others opinions.

Author: Vincent Kane

I hate things.