Can we love the art of monstrous men? Can we truly separate the art from the artist? Should we boycott their work or should we still appreciate their genius despite their actions?
To answer these questions author and critic Claire Dederer comes to Intelligence Squared on July 24. In conversation with acclaimed writer Lisa Taddeo, she will draw on the themes of her widely praised new book Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma, in which she explores the legacies of some of the most infamous figures in art. Is their talent deserving of special treatment? Or should we reevaluate their contributions to society in light of their transgressions?
What should we make of the legacy of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, who faced numerous accusations of child sexual abuse throughout his career? Can we still dance to his hits like ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’, or should we shun them in light of the disturbing allegations against him? Can we enjoy the cinematic masterpieces of Roman Polanski, who fled the US after being charged with statutory rape, or reject them due to his allegedly criminal behavior? And what about the works of Hemingway and Picasso, known for their artistic brilliance but also for their mistreatment of women?
The conversation will also investigate how we perceive women artists who may be seen as monstrous and what our society’s views on gender say about us.
Join us for a morally astute exploration of art in the age of #MeToo.
‘What a treat it is: funny, lively and convivial, constantly in argument with itself … Dederer’s tone and willingness to be wrong and confused, along with her seductive, intimate style, bring the subject to new life … how rare and nourishing this sort of roaming thought is and what a joy to read. How moving, too, the underpinning adoration that allows the difficult questions to be asked.’ – Megan Nolan, The Sunday Times
‘Monsters is an incredible book, the best work of criticism I have read in a very long time. It’s thrillingly sharp, appropriately doubtful, and more fun than you would believe, given the pressing seriousness of the subject matter. Claire Dederer’s mind is a wonder, her erudition too; I now want her to apply them to everything I’m interested in so I can think about them differently.’ – Nick Hornby
‘In a world that wants you to think less – that wants, in fact, to do your thinking for you – Monsters is that rare work, beyond a book, that reminds you of your sentience. It’s wise and bold and full of the kind of gravitas that might even rub off.’ – Lisa Taddeo