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Can We Appreciate the Great Art of Bad People?

Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1545-1554) by Benvenuto Cellini. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Zócalo/Getty Event
Moderated by Amanda Fortini, Contributing Writer, The New Yorker
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Parking is $10 per car or motorcycle after 3:00 PM. More information here.

Eadweard Muybridge, who made the first motion pictures, was a murderer. Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot were both rabid anti-Semites. And Picasso was a brutal misogynist who drove both his wife and his mistress to suicide. Great artists have never been angels. But as we learn more about the crimes and misdemeanors of today’s artists, to what extent can we still separate appreciation of great art from celebrating its compromised creators? Does an artist’s bad behavior diminish the quality of their artwork? What does it mean for arts institutions to reject art on moral grounds? Cultural historian and film critic Neal Gabler, USC popular culture scholar Todd Boyd, and Notre Dame art historian Ingrid Rowland visit Zócalo to examine how, and whether, we can value the art of rogues and criminals.

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