Should we separate the art from the artist?
Separate the player from the game?
The inventor from his creations?
Steve Jobs was an asshole.
Michael Jordan trash talked everyone. So did Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Shaq.
Chris Brown hit Rihanna.
It’s actually quite a relevant topic. Particularly in today’s age, where the ethics of a person are more under the spotlight, as well as the increasing demand for quality art.
I personally think: yes. We should.
A good painting is a good painting regardless of the creator.
But the answer to this question isn’t as simple as just “yes”
Because if we separate the art from the artist, then it also means that the art cannot justify the actions of the person.
Just because Steve Jobs invented the iPhone, doesn’t mean we can let him get away from being an asshole.
The iPhone is amazing. And if Steve Jobs as not particularly kind to Apple employees, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Jobs pioneered the smartphone industry with the iPhone. Give credit where credit is due–but also realize that it doesn’t negate the fact of Jobs’ demeanor.
If you like Chris Brown’s music, then sure. You can like his music, separate from the person.
I dislike Kevin Durant as a person, but I have to admit that he is one of the greatest basketball scorers the NBA has ever seen. Respect the player, but not the person.
Let’s say we don’t separate art from the artist. Tied together, it allows for way too many inconsistencies.
Does good art justify the person? Or, does a quality human being justify his art?
I’m sorry but in the face of creativity, regardless of how good of a person the artist is if his art is not good, it is just not good. We must separate the art from the artist.
Good art is good art. But good art DOES NOT justify the creator to use his art as an excuse to be anything less than a quality human being.
Good people are good people. But the goodness of a person does not suddenly make his art good.
To summarize: I agree that art should be separate from the artist. This way, we can respect good art, without respecting the creator, and we can respect the creator even if his art is bad.
What do you think?
Also, the cover photo of this blog post is a painting by none other than Hitler. If only Hitler pursued his art, rather than his other endeavors…
P.S. If I am completely crazy, please let me know. I genuinely want to know what you think and I encourage insightful debate and discussion.