Should artists be judged by their art of their actions? Con

Evan Myers, staff writer

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There is a lot of news today about artists doing bad things, and many have lost their careers as a result. Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, R. Kelly and Bill Cosby come to mind. The question is, should we judge someone’s art by their actions, or can we enjoy their work even though they have done some bad things? The answer is that it is okay to like the art, even if you don’t like the artist.

This debate has been going on for ages. Picasso, one of the most famous artists of all times, was known for the poor way he treated women and people in general. And yet, people to this day flock to museums to appreciate his paintings.

For example, according to, William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies, but was an attempted rapist. Anne Perry was a crime novelist who murdered her mother. Patricia Highsmith was also a crime novelist… and a rapist. J.D Salinger was the author of The Catcher in the Rye, yet he was a pedophile and adulterer. All of these artists have created work that is recognized as good art, in spite of their bad behavior.

Many famous artists, inlcuding Van Gogh, Goya, and Munch, suffered from mental illness, which resulted in breakdowns, alcoholism and episodes of anger and violence. However, none of this lessens the impact of their art on the world.

Kanye West, for example, writes music that a lot of people enjoy, but he has compared himself to others, has said racist/sexist things, this guy has even compared himself to God. That is pretty pathetic, yet his music is still enjoyed by many.

The case with Kanye West is that he underwent a life changing experience: the death of his mother. In 2007 his mother passed, and in 2008 he released a soul grabbing, game changing album, called 808s and Heartbreaks. This piece of work further introduced autotune to rap, aside from what T-pain already did, and 808s being the type of drum used in the album was spread wider throughout hip-hop. The event of his mothers death changed his discography from a soulful upbeat rapper, to a darker and corrupted musician. What some see as crazy, others see as successful,and even though he has his controversies, he was made this way because of a tragedy that made him the way he is today, and his art should be appreciated despite his past troubles.

Despite clear evidence that an artist’s work should be separated from the artist, there are many who choose to dislike an artist’s work because of things they have done. Of course, people have the right to like or dislike anyone they want, but history has shown that art often outlives the artist, making it clear that art should be viewed for art’s sake alone.

There are popular artists who can be major jerks but still create great art, and some people do not like their art because of that. While it is understandable that someone would think this way, it is important to still appreciate what these artists have created.


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