Should the work stand on its own?


noticing a lot of yall rockin BEMI easels… apparently with considerable pride and satisfaction. just saying.

anyways i don’t really like art made by humans anymore

(possible exception of burzum’s ‘filosofem’)


Yes! This quest gets to the source of uncertainty when we ask what is creativity and where does it come from. Who does it belong to?

Personally art is most beneficial when experienced with a blank mind.

This is all Life in its infinite expression. Dismiss and Ignore at ones own peril.


As many have pointed out, there are endless historical examples of people who were assholes (or often significantly worse).

However, things get complicated on a couple of fronts.

The first is we often only know that people were assholes when that part of them is ‘for sale’, that is to mean, public knowledge. This can sometimes be part of a persona, in which case intentionally shared, or sometimes this is part of a leak or investigative reporting etc… Either way, it has become public information for it to make it to you, generally speaking.

So there are obvious cases here where a person is terrible, but it isn’t publicly known, or rarer, where something is publicly known, but not true (either via ‘persona’ or fabricated allegation (or even just allegations as is some cases (this is a whole other discussion which I am not suggesting here, but I just wanted to point out that smoke != fire in a general sense, not in any specific sense/case))).

The second part is that it seems like people are primarily talking about this in a way that makes it clear that they no longer want to support the artist (financially). This makes sense when it comes to products, or records, etc… But what does it mean with regards to historical art. Because Picasso was a womanizer, does that make Guernica less significant? Because (John) Lennon beat his wife, does that mean that the impact he had on you as a teenager is retro-actively less significant? The aesthetics can be meaningful, even if you think they shouldn’t be patronized/supported/idolized/etc…


this make me wonder, should a forum stand on its own ?


I suppose this is just a semi-hidden joke because the burzum guy is a neo-nazi, right ?


And a self-proclaimed misanthrope. Maybe the only art someone who doesn’t like “art made by humans” anymore can still enjoy is art made by misanthropes? Again a sign for the connection between artist and artwork?



What becomes public knowledge isn’t synonymous with what’s “for sale”. Are you implying that when something is made public it’s
a) for the express gain of the person who the info is about, or
b) that someone is making a profit off of exposing it and that’s the reason to have exposed it, or
c) that it’s all a show anyway?

I don’t understand this phrasing.


I understood it as “there’s a benefice to make out of that information, either for the artist or its competition”, which was kinda gloomy but we’re in a world that doesn’t reject any tiny scrap of cynicism it gets when it comes to money so… but maybe it wasn’t that!


Maybe this is a wider subject or off-topic but I think (and evidence supports it) that there is a lot of people in jail, demonised as evil, insane and sick when there are deeper mental (permanent or temporary) issues involved or extreme causes to their behaviour. I get the impression that in society there is no redemption or clemency for individuals after they’ve gone “bad”. Once you mess-up in a big way that’s in, you’re lynched and it’s case closed, into a bottomless dark pit you go.

I am not taking about the discussion here just more what I hear and read on the wider web, and other media.

I always try and see different perspectives, never sympathising with wrong doers but try to get as much first hand information as possible before I start drawing conclusions.


The phrasing comes from the Dave Chappelle’s Block Party film where he’s talking about Erykah Badu (and himself), with regards to the part of one’s personality that is public. (In this specific example I think it was referring to how funny Erykah is, but it’s not something that’s for other people).

I didn’t specifically mean any financial connotations beyond that.


I’ve been wondering alot about all this recently, the only thing I can offer is that it is absolutely right to debate this maturely and as with all value judgments, everyone has their own personal threshold which may be difficult to put into words. So please minimise the “yeah but what about…??” as otherwise we get straight to


Hitler was nice to animals


and that invokes Godwins Law, and the thread gets locked.


My question is somewhat tangential, but how are you framing these artists in the same context as the Synthrotek guy, Weinstein, Cosby, Allen, et al?

All four, to varying degrees, created work that is fairly antithetical to bigotry and/or misogyny, with the possible exception of Godard. Arguably, few filmmakers have been more eviscerating in their portrayal of bourgeois stupidities than Fassbinder (full disclosure: I am in the midst of “Berlin Alexanderplatz” right now).

Polanski? Certainly a better filmmaker to discuss in this context, and I admit to having a hard time watching his films now, given his still-emerging history.

Allen is completely off the table for me. Didn’t care that much about his films aesthetically anyway, so it’s not hard, but still: no go zone. I won’t buy assholes lunch with my money.


ok. so Harvey has been prolific. on IMDb it says he has 331 producer credits, and there are a lot of familiar titles on this list.

we could focus on movies like Scream, where the problematic is so in your face that it becomes almost like a comment on itself, using post-modern irony and self-awareness to excuse its own violence, psychopathy, chauvinism, etc.

but maybe it would be more interesting to try to understand how a universally praised movie like Shakespeare in Love might be read differently now it has become impossible to ignore the fact that it was produced by a sleazy, opportunistic predator?

can Shakespeare in Love stand on its own?


I understand what people are going for with the “can his films stand on their own” question, but I think it’s also worth noting that the thing he’s known for is his insane marketing of films, and how his push for Oscars in the past has been very successful in more than a handful of instances, as well as his annoying insistence on cuts!

He’s not a director, he’s not a screenwriter, he’s a producer, and that’s a really slippery term (as so many film production roles are!), but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that so so so many people were involved in those productions in more creatively-important roles than him, that the films should still stand on their own, even if, with this new context, they can take on new meaning along the way.

Not sticking up for him in any way at all, I just think it’s a bit different to compare him to the big guns in the can-I-like-this-person’s-work-even-though-they-were/are-a-dick (like Wagner, Miles, etc), because his creative input on these films was… not ‘negligible’… but probably a lot less than all the other people involved, and most of them, hopefully, don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.

Cheeky edit: I’d also like to add that when it comes to retroactively critiquing his films now, he is/was such a dominant and successful personality that the qualities of his films that are only now seen as problematic because of recent revelations have been problematic since day one, and are probably emulated across Hollywood because of the success his films found. Just sayin… there’s a lot more wrong with the film industry than just Harvey Weinstein.


haven’t watched as many as most of you but this is VERY true

thanks for saying so


In my teens I was (well still am) obsessed with painting, and at my teenage years Dalí was up there in the pantheon. Somewhere in this time period I realized he was a less than upstanding human being and with this I grappled in my mind which was becoming aware of justice and social ideas.

I came upon a quote at that time that put some ease to my mind for a time, from George Orwell, this quote is in fact oft repeated and encountered with regularity when discussing Dalí, it follows:

“One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being. The one does not invalidate or, in a sense, affect the other.”

Some time later I came upon the text the above quote had been pulled from, and it turns out I had been duped in my interpretation of Orwell’s words by the fact that they were taken out of context, intentionally in order to preserve Dalí in the best light and in order to paint over his humanistic deficiencies:

“In an age like our own, when the artist is an altogether exceptional person, he must be allowed a certain amount of irresponsibility, just as a pregnant woman is. Still, no one would say that a pregnant woman should be allowed to commit murder, nor would anyone make such a claim for the artist, however gifted. If Shakespeare returned to the earth to-morrow, and if it were found that his favourite recreation was raping little girls in railway carriages, we should not tell him to go ahead with it on the ground that he might write another King Lear. And, after all, the worst crimes are not always the punishable ones. By encouraging necrophilic reveries one probably does quite as much harm as by, say, picking pockets at the races. One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dali is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being. The one does not invalidate or, in a sense, affect the other. The first thing that we demand of a wall is that it shall stand up. If it stands up, it is a good wall, and the question of what purpose it serves is separable from that. And yet even the best wall in the world deserves to be pulled down if it surrounds a concentration camp. In the same way it should be possible to say, “This is a good book or a good picture, and it ought to be burned by the public hangman.” Unless one can say that, at least in imagination, one is shirking the implications of the fact that an artist is also a citizen and a human being.”

So how do we deal with heroes falling from the sky?


For me, I am for letting the work stand on its own merits. I just dont find the Woody Allen or Polanski classics tainted- even as individuals they start to be shabby and out of touch (or worse). I am not arguing with anyone who has expressed the opposite view - its just my gut instinct here.

Another point to make is the ferocity of this kind of demonizing. Jon Ronson’s So you have been Publicly Shamed is quite a sobering read on the dynamics of on line vilifying.

the stand out word - used several times in this thread is ‘murky’. At lunch, browsing a few news sites comments, it didnt take long to stumble on anti-semitic conspiracy rubbish that people dont seem to be called out for any more. So what I’m saying is more praise for online spaces like this where intelligence and subtlety are not the first casualties.


That’s a fascinating thread.
It makes me remember that as soon as I read about Picasso’s behaviour with several women I could not look at his work again without thinking about it.
I was a teenager so this was a long time ago (the reading), but the feeling has stayed.
The same goes for Charlie Chaplin. I cannot watch his movies anymore.

I think I may not be able to judge the men as I wasn’t there and do not know anyone involved in person, but I cannot stop thinking about it when I’m considering their works.

This is a strange world.




There is also the Karlheinz Stockhausen contoversy … Words can be as harmful as a hand can be. Stockhausen claiming 911 as a work of art was taken with so much offence that his 4 day festival was cancelled in response to his statements. The full article is written in German, so the link above is not really the best source for what he said in the interview that ignited his controversy. Here is the original to save digging through links if someone wants to read the interview in German.

Given Stockhausen’s impact on modern music, and the reflections of his influence by others I’ve listened to regularly for the last several years, I think it will be very difficult to remove his influence from my own attempts at doing something new. Is it impossible for the work to “stand on its own” when a person as influential as Stockhausen falls from grace so late in his career?

Are speech and action viewed with different rules when it comes to offensive or “unsafe” behaviour and censoring oneself? I can speak for myself through experience, that very damaging, abusive words often have been accompanied by physical violence and in no certain order. The effects of the 2 kinds of abuse for me are fairly similar in the long term.

When I have thought about these kinds of questions lately, I think of paintings on the walls of caves. Done perhaps by Hominidae who had limited language to debate from, physical violence was likely a regular occurrence in daily family life and if enough years go by, the art ends up standing on its own in a dark cave waiting for some one from the future with a shovel to rediscover. We will never know the full truth about the lives of artists or their words.