About the Talk
“When Great Artists Behave Badly”
Online Talk | Drexel University Pennoni Panels
In recent years, reports of toxic personal behavior have led to the reconsideration—and sometimes outright “canceling”—of the work of many artists, from living filmmakers to long-deceased painters. For some, these reckonings are necessary to develop a supportive and accountable community. For others, it conflates the art with the artist and represents inappropriate censorship.
What are the responsibilities of museums when dealing with archives of deceased artists who behaved badly? Should there be a scale for bad behavior—from misdemeanor to atrocity—that factors into decision making? This panel will continue the conversation about the feasibility of separating the art from the artist and discuss how museums navigate moral challenges in assessing their collections.
Aruna D’Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminism and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her most recent book, Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts, was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times.
Erich Hatala Matthes is associate professor of philosophy at Wellesley College. His research deals with the ethics, politics, and aesthetics of cultural heritage and the environment.
Bill T. Jones is a Tony-award winning dancer, choreographer, and author. He is artistic director of New York Live Arts.
Martha Lucy is deputy director for research, interpretation and education at the Barnes Foundation. She has written extensively about the Barnes’s Renoir collection.
Paula Marantz Cohen is dean of the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University. She is also a distinguished professor of English and coeditor of the Journal of Modern Literature.
This online event will be recorded for later broadcast as an episode of the PBS-distributed series The Civil Discourse.