You see, we must divorce the output from the creator. That an artist abuses children is a bad thing for the children, the artists and quite possible even society. But it makes no difference to the art:
Where, I wonder, will this investigation end? According to what I read, the Tate is also considering the \”wider ethics\” of showing work by Ovenden, and until this review is complete, these 34 prints \”will not be available to view by appointment\”. Wider ethics. What does this mean, exactly? It sounds a touch North Korean. Let\’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the images in question do not portray Ovenden\’s victims. What then? Will the Tate return them to the public view? Surely it must, for if it is unethical to show work by a paedophile, what are they going to do about all the other artists who had dubious sex lives? Unless, of course, this rule only applies to perverts who are living.
It\’s baffling to me, the belief that art must be \”ethical\”, as if it were so much fair trade chocolate. It\’s so much more complicated than that. The laughable idea that it can pass or fail some kind of tick-box test! What was art in March must surely be art in April. You can\’t un-art art, though Hitler had a go, when he decided that what was modern was also degenerate and set about destroying it and, far worse, those who made it.
Therefore Gary Glitter\’s pop songs stand entirely apart from Pal Gadd\’s ephebophilia, Jim\’ll Fix It is entirely different from Jimmy Savile\’s groping and mooted raping.
Of course, this isn\’t how it actually turns out. We\’re all still urged to enjoy the work of Eric Gill while the appearance of a Jimmy Savile puppet in a rerun of an 80s show causes front page headlines about the damage done to children.
Should be said that this isn\’t particularly limited to artsy types. We all will make the distinction: private lives are private lives for people we approve of, evidence of how we should reject all for those we don\’t. You know the sort of thing: Stalin gets a pass on killing the bourgeoisie because killing the bourgeoisie might be a good thing, while Hitler doesn\’t get such a pass. Although, given the current anti-smitism on the left I wonder how long that\’s going to last?