There was a hypothetical question my best friend and I argued while we were still getting our degrees in Art History: If a building were on fire and you had a choice between saving a Rembrandt and saving a cat, which would you choose?
Okay, besides the fact that those stupid hypothetical questions are always too simplistic, and besides the (also) fact that my best friend HATED cats so the question was more whether she would throw a cat into the fire...
I'd save anything alive before I'd save a painting. A pointsettia. Anything living is more important than art. It was her opinion that Art was superior to Life. And so the argument would begin.
Certain 'great' artists were morally reprehensible human beings. Surprised? No, I didn't think so. Matisse, for instance, who painted the famous "Dance of Life" impregnated his wife repeatedly and then gave his children to an orphanage. They were an impediment to his lifestyle, you see. Keep in mind, orphanages were a lot worse then than they are now.
Kind of ruins his art for me.
The same goes with authors. I loved Dean Koontz for many years. His descriptive passages are vivid and exciting. I could read them over and over. Sadly, he is reported to have said many disparaging things about Asian people. The man is a bigot! Who knew. It has spoiled my enjoyment of his skill. Sadly.
Now, my friend's argument was that all people are wicked and that their art redeems them on some level. She has a point, right? My question is, where do you draw the line? CAN you draw a line (I'd say, 'no') For instance, how can I read books written by mysoginists, given that I've spent most of my life fighting for women's rights? Or how can I read books written by men who subsequently supported Hitler?
Does it ruin books (or other art) for you if you know that the person who created it was an asswipe? Does it matter, or not?