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Started by Agaliarept on Nov 4, 2020 10:34:51 AM
To what extent does an artist's personal life affect your enjoyment of their work?

Inspired by a short convo on the John Sessions RIP thread: Do you find yourself unable to consume art made by people if you know something about that person you don’t like?

If you find they are guilty of a crime? Does the severity of the crime matter?

If they hold a political position that conflicts with your beliefs or who you are as a person, can you enjoy what they create?

If you enjoy an artist, musician or whatever, and then find out later that they fit into the above, does it change your perception of them?

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Agaliarept - 04 Nov 2020 10:35:16 (#1 of 213)

For me, I’m mostly about music. They’re the group of artists I know most about in terms of their beliefs and crimes.

In honesty, while younger me would consider the political views of an artist, older me has realised a lot of what I like is made by some pretty crappy people. I couldn't attempt to defend any of the really nasty stuff Eric Clapton is known for, and Ginger Baker’s history is well known, but I’m simply not willing to give up my Cream records.

And while I congratulate myself that I don’t listen to Lostprophets, I don’t feel any remorse when listening to Michael Jackson.

I’m sceptical of people who claim to be able to perfectly align their taste with their morals as that seems to intricate to be possible, but I do understand the desire to want to do it.

What say you?

ReverendBlueJeans - 04 Nov 2020 10:40:21 (#2 of 213)

Wouldn't listen to stuff or read stuff or go and see stuff by out-and-out fascists but generally I'm easy. Waugh's are amongst my favourite novels yet I know he was a ghastly rank-smelling jobbie of a human being.

Rendered - 04 Nov 2020 10:42:05 (#3 of 213)

What's good is good. Although a few people have objected to my Hitler watercolours in the study.

angelico - 04 Nov 2020 10:42:13 (#4 of 213)

Ditto Kingsley Amis

carterbrandon - 04 Nov 2020 10:43:03 (#5 of 213)

Eric Gill represents possibly the largest gulf between easy-on-the-eye art, and 'you really shouldn't do that' personal conduct.

ATtcha - 04 Nov 2020 10:44:25 (#6 of 213)

Funny to have this thread now, I've just discovered that one of the paintings I inherited from my father was painted by a former corsaire (official French pirate) who fought with Surcouf, he was a writer as well, an extraordinary man by all accounts, I look at the painting differently now.

Rendered - 04 Nov 2020 10:48:33 (#7 of 213)

I loved (and still do) most of Arnie's 80s films while thinking he was fairly rightwing at the time. Now, of course, he's everyone's favourite benign grandad in comparison.

TommyDGNR8 - 04 Nov 2020 10:48:34 (#8 of 213)

I disagree with the politics of almost all of the musicians I listen to (what, with probably 90% of successful western musicians being economic conservatives and the rest being Braggs, Wellers and fucking Hucknells).

There are still a couple of Glitter songs on my 70s playlist (though I have found myself hitting skip on the rare occasion one comes up when I've got the car windows down).

Rendered - 04 Nov 2020 10:50:10 (#9 of 213)

Best not to drive past a school with the windows down and 'I'm the leader of the gang" blasting out.

Shadrack22 - 04 Nov 2020 10:51:55 (#10 of 213)

To what extent does an artist's personal life affect your enjoyment of their work?

Not in the slightest.

returnofthepowermonkey - 04 Nov 2020 10:52:37 (#11 of 213)

I remember David Cameron and Hazel Blears fighting over ownership of the Smiths. I don't know if either of them would be so enthusiastic now.

SharkPatoo - 04 Nov 2020 10:53:46 (#12 of 213)

I think there are two issues: should we judge an artists character? Do we hold them to modern standards? Do we hold them responsible for how people used their art? (Wagner, for example, died before Hitler was born though you'd think he was a Nazi by how much people consider his music to be such. Actual Nazi composers like Strauss (R.) get a pass somehow). If we do judge an artists character before we consider their work then who gets to decide? Is there a sliding scale?

Secondly, do people with no undesirable traits or behaviour make good art?

ChankNolen - 04 Nov 2020 10:54:11 (#13 of 213)

One of my key musical heroes is James Brown (see user name), but there's no getting around the fact that he was a total cunt.

Rendered - 04 Nov 2020 10:54:59 (#14 of 213)

Do you still titter at the sardonic tones of Clement Freud, Shadders?

scottscott - 04 Nov 2020 10:56:08 (#15 of 213)

Here's a slice of sweet irony.

We inherited a beautiful picture of a sunny marshland painted by a known paedophile (it had been purchased before the scandal broke).

It would be an act of awful vandalism to throw it out. And giving it to someone else relying on their ignorance would be immoral.

Loving the work but hating the crime, it now hangs on our bedroom wall.

ChankNolen - 04 Nov 2020 10:56:13 (#16 of 213)

In general, I'd say an artist's politics are pretty unimportant. What is harder to forgive is when you realise they have left a trail of devastation behind them in their personal and professional lives. And that's because I have a strong antipathy to the idea that someone's artistic gift somehow grants them carte blanche to treat everyone around them appallingly.

ReverendBlueJeans - 04 Nov 2020 10:58:06 (#17 of 213)

TommyDGNR8 - 04 Nov 2020 10:48:34 ( #8 of 13)

There are still a couple of Glitter songs on my 70s playlist

See also Phil Spector. Do we stop listening to his 60s productions - which include the Let it Be album - owing to subsequent unpleasantness?

ChankNolen - 04 Nov 2020 10:54:11 ( #13 of 13)

One of my key musical heroes is James Brown (see user name), but there's no getting around the fact that he was a total...

See also Chuck Berry.

Agaliarept - 04 Nov 2020 10:58:55 (#18 of 213)

but there's no getting around the fact that he was a total cunt.

Can be said of so many artists that I don't get how you could edit them all out of your life.

I mean, I love the Stone Roses but there's no getting away from the fact that Ian Brown, while always a twat is now a full time cunt. Am I supposed to stop listening to them?

n general, I'd say an artist's politics are pretty unimportant. What is harder to forgive is when you realise they have left a trail of devastation behind them

I think when their actions are creating victims then definitely easier to judge them but time and again I find I'm simply not doing that.

I'll listen to Ike Turner, Chuck Berry, John Lennon. Ill listen to rap made by people who were criminals before making it big..

I'd like to be superior but even when they are leaving a trail of destruction it still isn't making me edit them out.

tasselhoff - 04 Nov 2020 10:59:57 (#19 of 213)

If I restricted my likes to The People's Revolutionary Front of Judea I'd have about 10 dismal tunes on shuffle.

browserbutton - 04 Nov 2020 11:00:28 (#20 of 213)

I'll always see Johnny Depp as a jolly pirate.

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