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Can We Seperate the Art from the Artist? Can we seperate the art from the artist? In other words, can we separate the creativity of the artist from their personal opinions, actions, and beliefs? This concept has been debated by many in the past, and is part of a larger conversation around the impact of personal lives and choices on the legacy of the artist and their work Put simply, separating art from the artist is the idea that one can be a fan of and appreciate the creativity of an artist without condoning or endorsing their personal and professional decisions. In essence, this is a value judgement, and as such, elicits a range of visceral responses for many people. One of the most famous examples of art and artist being separated comes from the life of the composer Richard Wagner and his works. Wagner’s music was beloved by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, who used it to garner support and legitimize their policies of racial superiority. While many people abhor Wagner’s private views, his music is frequently performed in classical music concerts and by respected orchestras. Other examples include artists such as the novelist Cormac McCarthy, whose writing has been praised as some of the best of his era but has also been characterized as misogynistic, or the playwright August Wilson, who has been criticized for his homophobic attitudes. In each instance, the artist and their creative works remain inextricably linked, yet many fans are able to separate the art from the artist and appreciate the work on its own merits. In addition to these famous examples, there are many more examples of the art-artist separation debate in the world today. Below are five of the most prominent: 1. John Lennon and the Beatles: John Lennon's activism and views on racism, war and peace have been widely celebrated, and have caused his image to become iconic in modern culture. Despite this, for some, his personal behavior and conviction for domestic violence and tax evasion can overshadow his contributions to music. 2. Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show: Bill Cosby is often remembered for his pioneering sitcom The Cosby Show, which was seen as groundbreaking in its portrayal and celebration of African-American family life. However, Cosby’s subsequent conviction of sexual assault and multiple accusations of predatory behavior have caused some to reevaluate the legacy and impact of the show. 3. Woody Allen and Annie Hall: The Academy Award-winning film Annie Hall is seen as a classic of American cinema and is emblematic of Allen’s comedic work. Yet Allen’s subsequent personal scandal - namely, his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow - caused many to re-examine their relationship with his films. 4. Mel Gibson and Braveheart: The film Braveheart, for which Gibson won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Picture, retains a special place in the hearts of moviegoers. Yet, Gibson’s recent anti-Semitic and homophobic rants complicate the legacy of the film and its director. 5. Michael Jackson and Thriller: Michael Jackson’s Thriller remains one of the most successful albums of all time, and is widely considered Jackson’s magnum opus. Jackson’s subsequent personal life and scandals, as well as recent allegations of child sexual abuse, have caused some to reconsider their appreciation of his art. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to separate the art from the artist is a complex and often difficult one. It is an intensely personal debate, and one that remains highly contested to this day.