Segments in this Video

Introduction: Should We Separate the Art from the Artist? (02:53)


Moderator John Donvan outlines the debate topic and introduces panelists. Writer and Humorist Randy Cohen and Writer and Art Critic Aruna D'Souza state their positions.

Artwork vs. Behavior (04:51)

Cohen states that enjoying the art is not endorsing the artist. The deeds of the artist affect the context but do not require rejection. D'Souza counters that compartmentalizing does not always work and often causes us harm in the present.

Merit of Art (04:45)

Greatness is socially constructed and often based on aesthetic value and the emotion art evokes; certain kinds of toxic behaviors may be a feature. D'Souza discusses Picasso's work and looking at art that depicts bad attitudes or violent behavior.

Hateful Ideas and Greatness (06:43)

If art displays horrible personal behavior, we should repudiate it; sometimes meanings change. Cohen considers Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Wagner. D'Souza argues against the scarcity of greatness and the messages we send when valuing the work of badly behaved artists.

Romanticizing the "Bad Boy" Image (05:55)

Cohen reiterates repudiating work that depicts an artist's deplorable behavior. Viewers should make their own judgments rather than an institution. D'Souza counters that institutions that display the art promote the idea that "great" work supersedes bad behavior; institutions must choose works carefully.

Closeting an Artist (06:21)

Cohen questions the boundaries of selecting artists to no longer exhibit; it would be bad for culture. D'Souza argues that institutions are already actively making choices about placement. We get to decide what is great and institutions are constantly defining greatness.

Canceling an Artist (06:55)

D’Souza reflects on closeting Michael Jackson. Anxiety in choosing whether to renounce an artist has to do with who an individual was at the time of exposure. Cohen expects institutions to choose work based on content, not morality. He reflects on public conversations.

Contemporary Cases (06:26)

Stand-up comedy often has an autobiographical element and jokes are assertions about the world. In the case of some comedians, distasteful ideas appear in their act, making it easy to reject. Panelists discuss Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby.

Time and Judgement (05:02)

Are we judging artists of the past by the standards of today? D'Souza worries about what we are telling our children; there is no scarcity of greatness.

Intelligence Squared (01:26)

Donvan thanks listeners, encourages continued funding of the program, and cites the names of key individuals. IQ2 works to combat extreme polarization through civil discourse.

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Should We Separate the Art from the Artist?: A Debate

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Suppose you learn that one of your favorite artists, musicians, or authors has done something horrible, such as committed murder, advocated genocide, or engaged in some other reprehensible act. How do you respond? Do you reject the art they have created, or accept it as an entity in itself? Some argue that we should appreciate and revere great works of art as the masterpieces they are regardless of who made them. But others argue that praising and embracing such works by people who have done or said evil things essentially legitimizes and affirms their terrible actions or ideas. Should we separate the art from the artist? Audio only.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL283500

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

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