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Separating the art from the artist, now that we know more than ever – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

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Many of us are familiar with the sinking feeling of discovering your favorite artist is actually a terrible person. Sometimes shocking, sometimes predictable, it is always uncomfortable. 

With the overwhelming accessibility of information granted by modern technology, it is more difficult than ever to conveniently ignore the harm done by individuals who create great art. We have been grappling with the complex relationship between art and artist for hundreds of years, but as we become increasingly aware of the people behind the art we love, and increasingly concerned with our potential complicity in all they represent, we question ourselves with heightened urgency. If we know of an artist’s offenses but continue to appreciate their work anyway, does this approval of the art extend to an implied approval of the artist? Can the two be distinguished, and if so, how? 

Some advocate a total disavowal of the art of any condemnable artist, while others, equally vocal, prescribe a detached mode of analysis that privileges the work itself and minimizes its context. The question of separating the art from the artist has no simple answer, but there are many factors that can help us to critically engage with art once we know of the transgressions of its creator. 

One consideration in answering the question of separating the art from the artist is the extent to which an artist’s reprehensible qualities are exhibited in their work. The racial slur by which American writer H.P. Lovecraft referred to his cat is not a peripheral detail, but simply one real-life example of the racism deeply embedded in his work, including a reference to the “primitive half-ape savagery” of non-white characters in “The Horror of Red Hook.”

Another consideration is the extent to which engaging with art directly benefits its creator. When an English teacher reads “The Tell-Tale Heart” in class, it is unlikely that this action functions to normalize the author Edgar Allan Poe’s marriage to his 13-year-old first cousin. However, when Roman Polanski wins a Cesar award for best director despite being wanted in the United States for the rape of a 13-year-old, this acknowledgement is difficult to justify. 

A final consideration, one more instinctive than logical, is the way in which knowledge of an artist informs an audience’s feelings towards their work. While working on “The Shining,” Stanley Kubrick famously forced Shelly Duvall to work to the point of exhaustion and reflect on personal pain to further the authenticity of the onscreen horror. Can you truly appreciate Duvall’s performance when you are aware of the genuine terror behind her expressive eyes? Many can. However, if this insight makes you uncomfortable, your response is as legitimate as any critical conversation surrounding the film’s artistic merits, or indeed any debate of the ethics of celebrating the film despite Kubrick’s mistreatment of his leading actress. 

Stripping the initial question of its complex connotations, the answer is, of course, no. Art does not exist in a vacuum, and an artist inevitably leaves traces of their personhood on even the most impersonal of works. 

Still, it’s essential that the critical consumption of art is not confused with simple denial of all we find objectionable. There are ways to engage with the work of a morally questionable artist without ignoring their unfortunate qualities, or punishing yourself for your appreciation of their work. 

If you are aware of an artist’s offending characteristics, proceed with cognizance. For example, if you know of a writer’s personal misogyny, take note when you encounter a negative portrayal of a female character in his work. How does this character link to what you know about his real-life relationships to and thoughts about women? Does this character serve an agenda? To what extent can she be considered an individual case versus an allegorical relic of a patriarchal society, or the artist’s beliefs about gender? The answers to these questions may vary, but the act of asking them helps you to reckon with the ways in which the artist is reflected in their own work. 

Furthermore, be wary of the impact of the art you consume. If you spend your whole life absorbing images and words created by terrible people, these things will shape you, particularly if you accept them uncritically and with a complete dismissal of the role of the terrible artist in your experience of their art. Art is a powerful tool of persuasion in part because the source is somewhat obscured and your subconscious experience is engaged. You may be resistant to persuasive messaging when it comes out of the mouth of a politician, but when you laugh at a hateful joke on a sitcom, your guard is down. Don’t think you are immune. 

It is impossible to completely distinguish the art from the artist, but it is also unnecessary. In fact, if you want to continue consuming the art of a controversial figure, it is crucial that you don’t deny their moral complexity. Instead, when you discover the offenses of the artist behind a beloved work, take a moment to reflect. Think about how this aligns with or departs from your expectations of who they are based on their art. When you experience their art, take note of the elements that stand out to you now that you have a better understanding of the person who created it. Discuss and debate this with other ambivalent audience members. Ultimately, you have to trust your own instincts. 

The vital thing is not to reject every work of art created by a reprehensible artist. It is to honestly engage with the subtle and sinister manifestations of prejudice, violence and hatred in our culture, and to either affirm or reject works of art within their context.

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Celebs, fashion, 24k chicken wings at Miami Art Basel – BradfordToday

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MIAMI (AP) — After a pandemic hiatus, the official Art Basel show is back in Miami with all its eccentric glory, a dizzying list of celebrity attendees and dozens of spin-off shows that are already generating a buzz, including a phenom child painter and a $4 million Banksy sale.

Ten-year-old contemporary artist Andres Valencia’s gallery has already nearly sold out at Art Miami. The San Diego-based artist simply saw a cubist painting in his living room two years ago and declared, ‘I can do that’.

Actress Sophia Vergara bought one of his pieces this week and Channing Tatum, Jordan Belfort, and artist Shepard Fairey stopped by his booth at the Art Miami fair to check out his work, according to a spokesperson for Chase Contemporary.

Proceeds from Valencia’s works are going to the Perry J. Cohen Foundation, which supports the arts, and environmental and wildlife education and preservation.

Maddox Gallery is also showing at Art Miami, selling Banksy’s Charlie Brown for $4 million dollars on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the gallery said this is the first year they’ve had a profound collection of Banksy canvases including many original works.

Basel’s annual prestigious December art fair draws collectors, socialites and celebrities from around the world. But fashion has also played a prominent role in recent years with Christian Dior hosting its first ever U.S. show in 2019 as a sort of unofficial kick-off to Miami’s art week.

Louis Vuitton did the same on Tuesday night, with its first ever U.S. fashion show. But the sudden death of its 41-year-old legendary designer Virgil Abloh turned the show into a somber yet whimsical celebration of life attended by Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and her daughter North, Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, model Bella Hadid, Joe Jonas, Maluma and Pharrell. Kid Cudi and Erykah Badu performed at an after-party. Ivanka Trump and hubby Jared Kushner were also in the crowd.

And Chanel collaborated with artist Es Devlin for a monumental sculptural installation to celebrate its iconic fragrance. The fashion house is taking over Jungle Plaza to create a multi-sensory experience using hundreds of plants and trees. The installation is open to the public, but several big name celebs are expected to attend Friday’s VIP dinner with a top-secret performance.

Gucci is hosting a party Thursday night to celebrate Mickalene Thomas’ Monograph.

Alicia Keys, Lizzo and Cardi B are also among those performing around town this week. The rapper is launching a new line of Vodka infused whipped cream on Saturday. After-party performances at various clubs this weekend include Migos, Meek Mill, Diplo and Marshmello.

While Miami’s art week is a draw for serious collectors, it is also full of the absurd, including diamond and gold chicken wings. Yep, Miami’s DJ Khaled dropped “bling wings” topped with 24-karat gold dust and edible diamonds to promote his restaurant Another Wing.

There’s also an 18 carat gold bagel avocado toast on sale for $2.9 million at Galerie Rother at Art Miami.

Celebrity sightings included Martha Stewart in a gold coat and walking cane at Komodo restaurant and the Denver Nuggets and Venus Williams popped bottles all night at Pharrell and David Grutman’s restaurant Swan.

Hailey Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Brooklyn Beckham, Nicola Peltz were spotted loading up on cocktails and caviar at Papi Steak and singer Camila Cabello was spotted in the trendy art district of Wynwood on Monday for an unveiling at Wynwood Walls to celebrate 14 new artists with murals and sculptures.

Kelli Kennedy, The Associated Press




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Light Up the Hospital! Online Art Auction – The Nelson Daily

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Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation is excited to announce our Online Art Auction & 50/50 Raffle.

As part of the Foundation Light Up The Hospital! campaign, Ivan and Mary Smith have graciously donated 13 prints by Carl Brenders, Stephen Lyman and Daniel Smith.

“Prior to his passing last year, my husband Ivan made arrangements to donate these prints from his collection to Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation,” Mary Smith explained when asked about this generous donation.

“It was his wish that funds raised from his donation would help support the medical services that helped him so much.”

“I have no words to express my appreciation for every staff member in every department in our wonderful hospital, with special thanks to Dr. Malpass,” Smith added.

“I hope that this small gesture will help to support our hospital and our community.”

The Online Art Auction and Raffle runs from December 1-15. Visit www.klhf.org now to link to the event.

All proceeds from this event will be directed to the Light Up the Hospital! campaign to purchase priority diagnostic equipment for the Lab at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

For more information, please call the Foundation office at 250-354-2334.

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Northern Ireland art group wins Turner Prize – Museums Association

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A group of 11 artists who create collaborative actions in response to social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland has won this year’s Turner Prize.

The Array Collective, which received £25,000, was presented with the award at a ceremony in Coventry, home to the UK City of Culture 2021. This year’s Turner Prize exhibition is being held at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (until 12 January).

A further £10,000 was awarded to each of the other nominees, which consisted entirely of artist collectives and artist-run projects. The others on the shortlist were Black Obsidian Sound System, Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works.

The jury awarded the prize to Array Collective for their “hopeful and dynamic artwork, which addresses urgent social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humour, seriousness and beauty”. They were impressed with how the group was able to translate its activism and values into the gallery environment. 

The jury commended all five nominees for their socially engaged artworks, and how they work closely and creatively with communities across the UK.

The members of the Turner Prize 2021 jury were Aaron Cezar, director, Delfina Foundation; Kim McAleese, programme director, Grand Union; Russell Tovey, actor; and Zoé Whitley, director, Chisenhale Gallery. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain.

The Turner Prize, which is run by Tate, was established to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art.

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