Cancelled: should good artists pay for bad behaviour?
Talk to Eric Qatada matters of Wellesley College. He's writing a book on immoral autists about how useful the notion of cancelling may be and with the newspaper correspondent Tom. Seymour I'm a photographer and lecturer Louis. Bush, we explore the cases of Martin Pau David Allen Harvey to photographers whose activities have recently come under scrutiny. And we're continuing our series work the week this time, the artist virus-stricken talks about Robert, Smithson earth work from nine, hundred, seventy, the spiral jetty before that a reminder that you can catch up with the newspapers other podcast a brush with for in depth conversations that I had with artists about the art books music more that have defined their life from work. The artists series one of my college Jimmy Savile, Shanto Joffe, and rashy jumped soon you can subscribe to a brush with on Apple podcasts spotify or whatever you're listening now. and. We've also launched a book club at the newspaper with news excerpts, interviews, live events, and more. He can sign up to the monthly Book Club newsletter and indeed all of our newsletters at the newspaper Dot. Com Click on the link at the top right of the page. Now. Canceled culture is a term that's been banded about loosely over recent years but what does it mean and what are its implications well, to try to unpack it? I spoke to Eric. Atallah matters an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Wellesley College. In Massachusetts, he's writing a book on immoral artists. Erica wanted to begin by asking general question is cancel coach even a useful term. That's a great question to start with. I think that canceled culture is an idea that we need to grapple with because of how ubiquitous it's become So if you read almost any publication, you're gonNA hear so much about canceled culture these days but I think ultimately when we try to sort of get under the surface and figure out exactly what cancel culture is it becomes pretty unuseful term because so many different. Ways of approaching the immorality of artists get lumped in with canceled culture So. For instance there was a lot of discussion in the past. Year about cancelling the the artist again and the New York Times ran a big story you know is it time to cancel Gauguin and there there was a lot of discussion about it. But then when you actually read the article I, there wasn't anybody in the article who is critical of Gauguin who really wanted us to rip Gauguin off the walls or to stop looking at again or thinking about Gauguin with they really wanted was just a for everyone to take seriously. The morally bad things that Gauguin did right abandoning his family's sexually exploiting to hitching girls and the way in which some of his bad features, her show up show up his work. So there's a danger I think in talking about canceled culture or just using the general umbrella term canceled culture if it's going to obscure the more nuanced ways in which people are asking us to reckon with artistic morality not just saying, okay you're done a erased gone forever right but oftentimes just taking seriously the fact that sometimes artists do terrible things and that's something that we need to think about in relation to their work itself and I think that's really something that's lodging Gauguin's work isn't it? It's not like he's creating abstract paintings. When he's in Tahiti, he's depicting his life. They're very graphically and it's writ large on the works. We can see the kind of life is living. So it is in no way and appreciation of the content of the work to talk about what he's up to. Right. Exactly I mean, it almost seems bizarre to display these works without explicitly discussing or that context and how he's there and what he's doing and what's going on in the work right as if there was something dangerous out talking frankly and seriously about aspects of his work that have you know objectionable or immoral character to them you know that it's right there like you say So I think that that's a case that makes it particularly strange to act as if there's something that's going to be wrong or or harmful about about thinking about these features I mean I think that you know the way in which it gets framed by some. Curator's or or museum.