Yesterday somebody damaged the statue produced by Eric Gill on the front of the BBC building.
It appears that the artwork was attacked because of Eric Gill’s sexual deviation (as revealed in his diaries). He committed incest with his daughters and sexually abused the family dog.
I do not think many people would defend the actions of this artist. Sexual abuse is not to be condoned. But those that invalidate the art he produced??
It seems that we are on a slippery slope here. Many artists have lived abhorrent lives while producing outstanding art and music.
Leadbelly was a committed murderer and rapist.
Picasso was a misogynist.
Dali supported Hitler and fascism.
Gaugin was a paedophile.
Caravaggio was a murderer.
The list could go on and on and on.. ……
Does this mean we have to analyse the lives of every artist, musician and writer for abhorrent behaviour? Should we destroy their work if we find unpleasant stuff?
Would we all agree on what was abhorrent?
It seems to me that all those statues of slavers, exploiters, profiteers, warmongers and politicians should be removed!! They represent repugnant values. But destroy them?? I think not. I’d put them in museums.
Destroying art feels like burning books to me!!
Surely we should separate the art from the artist? Surely we can use the art as a focus to discuss the views and actions of the artists?