Sunday, August 31, 2014


Should we celebrate an artist who’s done something shameful? 
Can we venerate art produced by someone capable of evil? 
Should the two be separated?
Can we love the art and not the artist?

John Galliano (Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén) 1960-  A Gibraltar-born British fashion designer who headed Givenchy, Dior and his own label. In 2011 a French court found him guilty of allegedly making "racist comments to customers in a café" and sentenced him to pay a total of €6,000 in suspended fines. In France, expressing anti-semitic ideas is illegal. 

 Leni Riefenstahl: 1902 -  2003 - A German film maker best known for her films TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA, she left a legacy of cinematic innovation and her films are considered among the best in the world. Take a look at the diving sequence in OLYMPIA, it's technically and esthetically stunning, makes you want to fly.
Riefenstahl worked for and befriended Hitler and his criminal cronies. She was tried but never convicted of any crimes. However, Triumph of the Will does celebrate war criminals. She also produced beautiful photography and died aged 101.

Adolphe HITLER : 1889 - 1945
In case he needs introducing, Hitler was an Austrian-born German who aspired to be a professional artist but was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

He became a politician and killer of millions instead. His art is not a glorious thing so it's not hard to refrain from celebrating it. But people do buy it and not for it’s beauty, so what else would they be celebrating but the monstrosity of the artist?
Art, Beauty, Fashion, Painting, Film, Galliano, Riefenstahl


N. L. Lumiere said...

From Alexandra Cameron on Twitter @Alexcauthor:

Interesting debate. Have always loved Leni's work. Head in sand when it came to her beliefs. Art is so entwined with beliefs

N. L. Lumiere said...

But if you didn't know, it would just be a beautiful separate thing.