This was a topic I wanted to revisit again, but I want to cover a certain aspect of it. If you don’t know about my thoughts on whether artists and art should be separated, then you can check out that previous post here.
Now let’s get to the subject at hand.
Some of you already know that I have a very hard time separating the art from the artist especially if they do really bad things. It was interesting seeing people respectfully disagreeing with me for most of my comments. This brings up a question for you: What if the art IS part of the vices? Would you still separate the two from each other?
How could the art be involved in an author’s misdeeds or sins? Here are a few ways that could happen.
I guess one way would be the artist incorporating their deeds in their work or making a message that’s antithetical to their actions. It would be like if some creator had some villains murdering people, yet the author murders someone. That would be far harsher in hindsight. Or maybe they have a message against wars, but they end up howling for blood against another country. Those would be some examples on how that could be the case.
Another case would be if the work is plagiarized. Okay, some of you have seen this coming. Don’t worry, I won’t mention the obvious examples of cinematic plundering done by Disney, Christopher Nolan, or Suzanne Collins since you should already know those examples. I’ll use different examples. Look at Led Zeppelin. They made a career ripping off blues and folk songs. Eventually they got sued and were forced to give royalties and writing credits to most of the songs they stole from. I also pray that Spirit wins that appeal and sues Zeppelin’s pants off for them stealing “Taurus” to make “Stairway to Heaven”. I hate how that band gets a free pass for thievery. If any older person (or at the very least a classic rock purist) says that newer music just rips things off, show them the songs that band stole from to shut them up. Anyways, I need to get back on topic. Art theft gets tricky because those bad things are in their stolen creations. You could even go to those rock artists ripping off Black blues and original rock artists (**cough** Elvis **cough**) without paying dues to who they stole from. You have patents stolen like how Edison totally ripped off Nikola Tesla, Lewis Howard Latimer (there would be no efficient light bulbs had it not have been for his carbon filament!), and Granville T. Woods to name a few for his technological empire. At least Woods sued Edison twice and WON when he proved he made those patents instead of that overrated thief of an inventor. I have no respect for people who steal other people’s creative works. It’s lazy, intellectually insulting, and it shows how they are lesser beings because they stole from someone else. I can’t separate the art from the artist if it’s stolen.
What I wonder is why horrible people get free rides for their creations while others are obscured or demonized? How is it that an originator get crapped on for daring to sue the person or people who stole from them? For those who separate the art from the artists, what would cause you to stop or rather at what point can you not forgive the artist? Hey, I’m just staying in the question lane here.
Feel free to leave your comments on this matter.
I’m actually a little shaky on the examples you listed: the first set seems to offer a crime that mimics art or vice versa, not art as the actual terrible occurrence. And I’m not sure that in my own mind the second set applies well to the professed theme, either. Plagiarism is a crime unto itself, after all, the definition of which involves artistic work. . .
What I might have offered as an example would be Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph “Piss Christ”, in which Serrano submerged a crucifix in [human] urine. Personally, I can think of no possible reason to take–let alone release–this photo, other than to hurt people. Basically the same as walking into a church, mosque, temple, etc., and urinating, then claiming that doing so was performance art.
But that’s just my take.
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I’ll do my best to clarify some things. In my first example, I was referring to the artist copying the acts of their crimes or vice versa depending on the timing. It’s the brutal take of art imitating life or the other way around. Plagiarism is a crime and one can make a stronger claim where the art is part of the crime. What infuriates me is that certain musicians, movie makers, inventors, artists, etc. get away with blatant plagiarism, and I don’t need to repeat any major examples if you know anything about me or my blogs. Also, those same people who defend these rip-offs will freak out if you call them out on liking stolen works or with them claiming others are rip-offs.
Good example and I know about that piece of art. I know religion is a very touchy subject, but I wouldn’t do anything like that to anyone’s religion or worldview. One could make a case of connecting the artist with the art in that way.
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