Love The Art, Hate The Artist?

Endlessly Amazed

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Thinking about @C.O.T. 's thread on art and magic, can consumers/observers tell from the work alone if something is the result of blood and soul-stuff?

Which would be more objectionable or less worthy? (assuming that distinction is possible)

* the result of the blood and soul-stuff where whatever you object to is an inherent part of the process and product

* hack work done more or less by rote and still embodying the whatever-is-objectionable.

Personally, if I come at something through the object, without wider knowledge, and I find it pleasing or suitable or relevant I am much more likelt to be able to overcome the squicks whwn I find out about the being nasty to kittens aspect.

If I know of the artist and what ever makes me hesitate, and then see a piece which I want to own, I am less likely to be able to flatten the squicks to an extent that makes possessing it satisfying.

I'm interested in how people deal with the non-physical aspects of a physical item. The aura, or numinous quality that sometimes hangs around some things.

"can consumers/observers tell from the work alone if something is the result of blood and soul-stuff?" Answer: no; or at least, not by itself viewed in isolation from other works by the artist.

You are making a distinction, I think, between blood/soul work and hack work which I think doesn't exist as clear categories. After commercial success, famous impressionists churned out hundreds of hack works which sold easily. Monet especially was a brilliant businessman. Not all of his later work was wonderful. He was a very skilled hack who also, in the same time period, produced some soul work.

"I'm interested in how people deal with the non-physical aspects of a physical item. The aura, or numinous quality that sometimes hangs around some things." I bring the numinous quality to the piece of art, and not the other way around. Sometimes the artwork invokes this better than other pieces, but in the end it is just an object. In a commercial art gallery, it is the job of the salesman to figure out the best approach to a potential client. The appeal of numinousity or the soul aspect of the artwork certainly can be used as a sales pitch.
 

Frideswide

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I bring the numinous quality to the piece of art, and not the other way around. Sometimes the artwork invokes this better than other pieces, but in the end it is just an object. In a commercial art gallery, it is the job of the salesman to figure out the best approach to a potential client. The appeal of numinousity or the soul aspect of the artwork certainly can be used as a sales pitch.

Very interesting! I've always thought of the grues attached to a location or the bliss of another to be inherent in them, as having an existence that doesn't depend on me being there to observe it.
 

Endlessly Amazed

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Very interesting! I've always thought of the grues attached to a location or the bliss of another to be inherent in them, as having an existence that doesn't depend on me being there to observe it.

I do like some objects better than others. As a small child, I saw in a book a reproduction of the famous David Roberts' "Simoon in the Desert" and decided I would own it one day. It took 40 years, but I finally had the money to purchase an original lithograph (1840's?), hand tinted. I believe the original watercolor is in a public museum somewhere in the UK. The pleasure and emotions I experience when I look at it is based not just in its image itself, but in my judging it to be beautiful, and my long history in acquiring it. I bring the numinous to it, and not the other way around.

(For those who are thinking of writing how Roberts was a Western European white man from a racist, imperialist, colonizing country, and was an Orientalist and fetishist, thanks but I know all that already. It does not detract from the amount of numinousity I bring to the object.)

A modern photographic reproduction is not the same quality to me as a hand-made lithograph. This is actually based in how the image looks: 19th century lithographs and metal engravings are extraordinary! compared to photo reproductions. Ditto for J-L Gerome engravings made by one particular Parisian engraver who worked for the Goupil & Cie. Vincent van Gogh and Theo van Gogh both worked for this company at the same time Gerome was a minor partner in the Goupil company - Gerome had married Mr. Goupil's daughter and became wealthy from reproductions. Gerome disliked Vincent van Gogh. Knowing these National Enquirer (a dreadful US gossip and scandal publication) type of details about the art industry does not detract from my sense of awe and the numinous about some of the artwork.

BTW, the current "original signed limited edition prints, lithographs, or serigraphs" of two famous artists - both dead - are essentially worthless and will not even maintain their purchase value.

Edited to disguise the identity of the two famous artists...

Edited for spelling...
 
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James_H

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The Norwegian author Knut Hamsun was a well known Nazi sympathizer during the 1930s and WW2, but people still loves his works. His works are still accepted as exceptional. People don't like to talk about his Nazi period, and a movie about him had to use a Swedish actor to portray him.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116480/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_Hamsun
There's a conductor who I'll usually buy recordings of based on name alone, who was an (apparently keen) member of the nazi party. After the war he didn't talk about it much and had a continued, successful career.

Another famous composer took on important government jobs during the nazi years, but there's a suggestion that he was attempting to protect some Jewish relatives by doing so (tragically, it didn't work, and some were killed despite him driving to the concentration camp and begging for their release).

Something that Maximus Otter alluded to earlier: we seem to have a double standard when it comes to certain figures. I think it's to do with their perceived talent or artistic value: people don't think Jimmy Savile added much to our culture (I certainly don't) but some of these rock stars who were doing similar things at the time are much more respected and beloved and people are much more likely to turn a blind eye.
 
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James_H

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A very famous piece of his work is outside a very well-known building, and indeed only a few weeks ago somebody set about it quite openly with a hammer and chisel.
I did not know that! There was a small piece of his in the lobby of my university, and I always used to think 'I wonder how many people going in and out knew what this guy did to his dog?' That was before I knew about his family members :/
 

Victory

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Three very specific examples from my own life.

The books:

I own most of [ ... a series of books by a deceased sci-fi writer]
I have read some of them.
I think they are brilliant books.
Yet after I had bought them, I found out he was part of a cultural boycott of Israel and had banned his books from being translated into Hebrew.
This is diametrically opposed to my own religious/political viewpoint.

[ The deceased writer] spent most of his time in a ... pub writing his books on a laptop, so his knowledge of Israel likely came not from actually visiting there, and that by my guess at least 60% of the Israeli population would be able to read his books in English anyway, with perhaps the occasional look at a dictionary. So his ban merely showed his ignorance of an aspect of Israeli society.

My reaction so far, has been to leave the books on a shelf, without reading them.
I am not sure if I will do so for the rest of my life, or read them and feel a bit guilty.


The records:

I own most of the records made by a Hip Hop artist (let's call him "A") about whom there are strong allegations in print that he is a paedophile.
These allegations have not resulted in legal action, but I was aware of them before they went into print, by people who had worked with the artist.

Almost 20 years ago, aware of the allegations, I met another Hip Hop artist who had worked with him, and mentioned "A's" name.
The reaction I got was one of discomfort, the artist having an uncomfortable expression on his face, and quickly changing the subject.

The Hip Hop community has responded almost unanimously, with the artist being kicked out of the organisation, that he founded, though supported by one other artist who said the allegations were false.
Two of the other people he made some of the records with were subsequently convicted of armed robbery.

My reaction has been to keep the records, but not play them.
In spite of them being music I really like, and being some of the most important ever made in Hip Hop.


The actor:

Someone I know worked with an actor who would be very well known to most British users of this forum.
They said he was an ego maniac; frequently instructing other actors how to do their job, even when it was quite clear the other actors were more talented than this actor.
He was not pleasant to be around, and made the other actors uncomfortable.

Having seen this actor on stage, I think there is a chance he suffers from some sort of "mad genius" type personality.

Would I watch anything with this actor in?
Yes, but I would keep in mind what he was like in real life.
 
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MercuryCrest

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I'll posit one more thing here...

Imagine you buy 100 books to burn on a pyre to symbolically "hate" the writer. What does the writer (or their publisher) care? Not only do you have the Streisand Effect, but you bought the books and the money is in their hands now.
 

Victory

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I'll posit one more thing here...

Imagine you buy 100 books to burn on a pyre to symbolically "hate" the writer. What does the writer (or their publisher) care? Not only do you have the Streisand Effect, but you bought the books and the money is in their hands now.

If you filmed it and put it on youtube with an explanation, and it caused many people to stop buying their books,?
They'd care.
 

Wombat68

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I really struggle with this… one of my favourite ever Arthurian retellings is totally marred since I learned of the allegations of child abuse against the author. And the fact she endorsed her husband’s relationship with an underage boy. I’d love to be able to divorce the two, but just can’t.
I envy those who can.
I really struggle with this one too
 

Yithian

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No names named and no guessing games about identities, please.

The general topic of liking the art but not the artist is fair game as long as it stays general in scope.

acb00c671cae671ab2d55e211473f565.gif
 

Tunn11

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...and instantly raising said property's value by up to 300%.

I'd be happy.
The point I was trying to clumsily make above. However you now have the problem of protecting it from some little oik who will break the same law by spraying "Gazza has a big one." with illustrations, all over it. :)
 

Coal

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Hm...Some careful lateral googling enabled me to be sadly disappointed in regard of one or two of works alluded to above.

Here's my pennyworth: it seems wrong that someone convicted of some kind of abuse can still be allowed to profit from the living that facilitated said abuse. That said, other than the hard ‘guilty/not guilty’ line, how does one differentiate between this and other ethically questionable, but subjective, things? There are artists who have clearly (by a resonable man definition) driven their partners to suicide, but no crime can be proved.

There's an old angling writer, who’s works I still enjoy, but the death of a first wife was, in the words of an old copper (not one on this forum) so iffy that the circumstances would never be believed now - as it happens I agree with this assessment, but I’ve never bought a new copy of any such work, so at least I’ve not funded them.

So:

I never knowingly buy anything new that was or is generated by someone who has been either prosecuted or for who a reasonable hearsay case exists (e.g. 15 victims with strong similarities), so as to avoid financing a lifestyle I find ethically repugnant.

If I had paid for such and found out post hoc, I'd have trouble separating the person from the art, so my enjoyment would be diluted. For the sake of argument, were this a book, I’d recycle it. This may involve the wood burning stove during the colder months, but only because 'waste not want not'.

Were some casual acquaintance cling to a work of this type as it ‘doesn't really matter as they are different things’; they of course have a right to do so. However, I have the right not to respect said person in any way and were it to be, for example, a work produced by an abuser of children, I'd keep my children well away from them as well...

Yep, there are now a couple of gaps in a bookshelf. :hoff:
 

James_H

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Here's my pennyworth: it seems wrong that someone convicted of some kind of abuse can still be allowed to profit from the living that facilitated said abuse.
How do you feel about dead artists? For example, I have no problem listening to the romantic opera composer I mentioned before because he died well over a century ago and none of my money is funding his racism, though I might have more of a problem buying concert tickets, records etc by a contemporary artist with dodgy attitudes.
 

Tunn11

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What about someone who has done the crime and also done the time? E.g. has been caught, served their sentence and written a book unrelated to the crime?

Another promotion that I was to do that got turned down involved someone involved in a violent crime as a minor, who "did the time". but it may have been a psychiatric institution rather than prison. As an adult they then changed their name and had a reasonably successful career as a writer. It was a sort of open secret, so not I gather something they wanted brought up but not something they tried to hide.

Another talk I wasn't allowed was by "Mad" Frankie Fraser. He'd done the time and his talk was about his life and the London of the Krays and Richardsons. Easy choice there, you knew who he was and what he did. You turned up and listened to the history from one who was there or you didn't.
 

EnolaGaia

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