Separating the art from the artist: An ideological echo

Noor Tannir
Contributing Writer

We can all agree: it is devastating to learn your idol’s flaws. It is difficult, even appalling, to deconstruct the actual iconicity of these once great people who make truly beautiful things.

Being the avid consumers of art that we are, the following is often a topic of discussion: is it possible for us to separate art from its respective artist? I think it is an impossible task that many of us try but inevitably fail to accomplish.

Politics lie at the crux of the circulation of art. With that being said, it is almost impossible for us to separate works of art such as film, music, painting, and photography from their creators’ ideologies and value systems.

What is deemed heavier here is not the artwork itself but its socio-political narratives that the work drags with its rotation. Nevertheless, this battle is not personal. It is not an attack on Gal Gadot nor an attack on Woody Allen. It is only dissent at the greater hegemonic system in which these figures are merely symptoms.

The sphere of art that encompasses these symptoms, artworks, curators’ statements, artist profiles, and critical reviews cannot be detached from the socio-political realm encompassing it. It is as though this sphere of art is a reflection of its surrounding spheres, a reflection of economic justice, gendered dynamics, and racial inequalities.

This sphere of art mirrors reality, and it is a stable and ever-growing platform for any form of artistic expression. It is us, the spectators, who provide the voice of support or critique.

Through the support of these works, such as Wonder Woman or Annie Hall, we are in an unconsented contract. We are building a platform for these artists’ ideologies and partaking in an apartheid we are not even aware of building.

When we engage with the artists’ work, we are not only supporting their ideologies but also reverberating their narratives which, in these cases, uphold a language that is apologetic towards classism, sexism, racism, or colonialism.

The idea here is that perhaps it is not the act of looking, listening, or watching itself which causes an ideological echo. Rather, it is the absence of a critical eye and a blinded promotion of art in a tone that is divorced from its author that does so.

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