When I was a student of literature I recall being influenced by a school of critical theory (Rene Wellek?) that said an author’s biography was irrelevant to a consideration of his or her text. Once it was loosed from the pen it had an existence of its own irrespective of the character and deeds of its author.
I think the predisposition acquired in those studies to seek a direct, unmediated confrontation with art has stayed with me as I ponder the current climate in which the work of certain artists in various media, both living and dead, is being reconsidered by some, shunned by some, in light of crimes or abuses known or alleged to have been committed by the artists. I can’t see how this serves art.
I hope that, in the realm of human conduct, decency will prevail and justice will be served where justice is due. My duty as citizen of a struggling democracy with flawed institutions is to exert myself however possible to support the good and resist the bad. Where art is concerned, my goal is to try to keep my eyes, ears and mind wide open to the art as art.
[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]