Art is a human activity, and for this reason it’s easy to believe that the humans responsible for creating the art are important to the art itself. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Art, when it “becomes” art, is independent of the artist who created it.
Before I explain what this means, I want to state what makes me dwell upon this subject, which is millennials’ attitude towards artists who have been found guilty of some crime or immoral act, e.g. Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, etc. Not only do people despise these artists (which is totally understandable), but they despise anyone who still chooses to enjoy the art that these artists made.
Now, I have some idea why certain people would be turned off from, let’s say, Roman Polanski films on learning he fled the U.S. after being found guilty for statutory rape; I assume these people do so because they don’t want to support the artists by enjoying their art. However, just because you enjoy a piece of art does not mean you support the artist and it especially doesn’t mean that you condone all the actions of that artist.
Simply put, what it means is that you enjoyed a work of art. Due to the interpretive nature of art, everyone who experiences a work of art has a different perception. Therefore, the artist’s intention doesn’t matter, not only because it’s impossible to know their intentions but because the art is only what the receiver makes of it. I’m aware that, to most people, the artist is an important aspect in enjoying the piece as it gives context. My whole point here is that art shouldn’t be viewed in this way, as the artist renounces all control of their art once they finish and release it to the public.
This does not mean that art is always innocent and harmless, for lots of art is interpreted as hateful, racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. But once again, this isn’t because the artist said or did anything, it’s because of how people reacted to their art, for it is more than possible that the artist didn’t intend to be hateful but ended up hurting people because that’s how people interpreted their art.
To give an example, there are plenty of movies that on the surface appear to be racially egalitarian (“Monster’s Ball” is a perfect example) but are actually racist due to their portrayal of minorities and how secondary these characters are to the white characters, who more often than not are made out to be the savior of these movies.
I hope this is sufficient enough to explain why I don’t have an issue with certain pieces of art, but I know it won’t be sufficient to the liberals who can’t accept the views of others. For I don’t doubt for a second that liberals would accuse someone of (to continue with Roman Polanski) approving of statutory rape for enjoying the movie “Chinatown.” Perhaps I’m being presumptuous, but it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing liberals have accused people of.