These past two weeks, students around the world discussed whether art can be appreciated or enjoyed if it is made by an artist who leads a controversial life based on our #DoNowArtist post. We asked students Can you still appreciate a work of art even if you don’t like the artist as a person? Should we continue to celebrate art by people who do bad things? Can you separate the art from the artist? Should you?

From Picasso, who was thought to be a womanizer, to Woody Allen, who has recently been accused again by his daughter for sexual abuse, artists cannot hide their personal lives from the public. Often, artists draw inspiration to create their artwork from their surroundings and personal lives, making it difficult for artists to separate their souls from their work. Since art is often a reflection of life, people have debated if we can and should judge art separately from the artists.

Students debated back and forth, pointing to different topics that ranged from how artists are also normal people who make mistakes to the idea that recognition of an artist depends on his or her immoral behavior. Most students argued that art should be judged by itself.

Appreciate Artwork by Itself

Many students stated that artists are people too, and that their art should be judged on its own merit.

Cannot Separate Art from Artist

Some students argued that they cannot support an artist who has a bad character.

Celebrating Their Bad Behavior

Some students commented on how supporting their work also means supporting their bad decisions.

It Depends…

Other students discussed how their support depends on what the artists did in their personal lives.

Also check out students’ responses from URJC on Storify a graduate program on Bilingual Education in Spain.

Here’s the Storify:


Laura Robledo

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.

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