Creative Complex: Art, Legacy and Accountability
The idea of the eccentric, outrageous creative genius – the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ artiste – has proved surprisingly durable over centuries.
It’s a mythology that has insulated a certain type of artist from public censure over bad private behaviour. Lately, though, the mood is far less forgiving for artists who have caused serious harm and hurt in their personal lives. But as a re-setting of standards takes place, we’re left with some wicked problems. As Ashleigh Wilson has written in his recent essay, On Artists: ‘If we denounce the artist, then what do we do with the work? Once we start removing paintings from walls, where do we stop?’
On 12 June at the Wheeler Centre, Wilson will be joined by Luke Carman and Shaad D’Souza for a broad discussion about accountability and creative legacies, in conversation with Bhakthi Puvanenthiran. They’ll talk addiction, mental illness and cults of personality in the arts, as well as cancel culture and boycotts in the era of #metoo.
Who decides what qualifies as bad behaviour? Are we on a slippery slope of moral panic? And while individuals can make up their own minds about the art they enjoy in private, how should public institutions and media navigate this tricky terrain?
Dymocks Camberwell will be our bookseller for this event.
Ashleigh Wilson is a journalist who worked at The Australian for two decades, including as arts editor. His series on unethical behaviour in the Aboriginal art industry won a Walkley Award and led to a senate inquiry. He is the author of Brett Whiteley: Art, Life and the Other Thing (2016) and On... Read more
Luke Carman is the author of An Elegant Young Man, which won the 2014 NSW Premier’s New Writing Award and was shortlisted for the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, the Steele Rudd Short Story Prize and the Readings New Writing Award. He was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Nov... Read more
Shaad D’Souza is a writer, editor and critic from Melbourne. Currently the FADER‘s Australian News Editor, he has written on music, art and culture for publications including Pitchfork, the Guardian, the Saturday Paper, Billboard, i-D and New York Magazine. Shaad was previously Australian ed... Read more
Bhakthi Puvanenthiran is a writer and editor. She is currently Editor of ABC Everyday, which covers family, money, sex and relationships, culture, food and much more. Bhakthi has previously worked as managing editor of Crikey, deputy arts editor at The Age and small business editor at The Age and th... Read more
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