Sunday, December 9, 2018

When the artist can no longer be separated from the art.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Pablo Neruda, the great poet, resistant, thinker was to have an airport named after him in Chile. Then a humongous no-go campaign started. Why? Because in his memoirs, Neruda described how he had raped a maid. Kevin Heart just lost his Oscar presenting gig refusing to apologize for past homophobic tweets. Kevin Spacey - obliterated and erased. Suddenly, Wagner's Nazi sympathies can no longer be disregarded, the origins of the tiara Meghan Markle wanted to wear were suspiciously Russian so she had to "settle" for another one. Dolce and Gabanna were just embroiled in a scandal whereby a video they shared online seemed to laugh at the Chinese and their culture - the economic backlash was so violent their show (a supposed love letter to China) was scrapped and their collections take out of major vendors both on and offline.
These days, anything has started to become too "woke". Disney pictures are no longer acceptable because girls are no longer expected to wait for their prince, that wonderful painting in that famous museum could hae been stolen in WWII from a Jewish family, and Gilbert and Georges right leaning sensibilities seem like an important issue to those looking at their art.
Naturally, it is always a question: Can we separate the art from the artist?
Does anyone know that Andy Warhol was a deep believer who went to church daily all while surrounding himself with social outcasts at the factory?
Take John Galliano: thrown out of Dior unceremoniously after an anti-Semitic outburst, he completed his apology lap and is now presiding creatively on the Margiela collections. So, which bits of his work do we boycott? The ones pre- or post- outburst for Dior or even post-apology? Can one still enjoy any Harvey Weinstein movie (the movie producer deep in his neck with sexual charges)? Or wait, how about a Mel Gibson movie (serious questions, Gibson did a PR stunt to apologize for his rants but does it make it OK to see any movie he is in)?
There is an incredibly strong backlash today about - well, practically anything and everything. Is this being socially awake, or being sensitive, or simply acting in a way that society expects us too because it is cool?
The other day, I saw on TV the Weinstein produced "Shakespeare in love" - my reaction?
Who thought of giving Gwineth Parltrow an Oscar for that?