Soliciting Comments for This Sunday’s PRICE panel: Reassessing an Artist’s Work in the Wake of Stunning Revelations

We’re looking to share some compelling thoughts from our intelligent friends out there in the blogosphere for our Sunday, March 30th Artistic Director’s Roundtable Discussion (free at 5:30 at the theater, following the 3 pm matinee performance of Arthur Miller’s THE PRICE).

The topic this week: Judging an Artist’s Work in the Wake of Stunning Revelations: Arthur, Woody, Pablo, Truman, and Others

A recent Vanity Fair article (and we encourage you to read and respond to this piece) shed light onto a previously unknown aspect of Arthur Miller’s life, his fathering of a son born with Down Syndrome. Our opinions of other artists’ works has occasionally been altered by revelations about their personal lives; other times not. With Artistic Director Ari Roth and Murray Horwitz, Director and COO of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, we look at the impact of mid-career or posthumous revelations on our regard for the work and larger persona of artists like Arthur Miller and other authors we’ve considered at Theater J like Woody Allen, Truman Capote, Pablo Picasso. Can you think of others?

Already we’ve gotten this thought from a local critic:

We often assume the narrative of a work of art is autobiographical but in fact it is so often constructed. Then when we learn facts about the artist which does not fit that presumed autobiography there is disappointment or a feeling of betrayal. Gunther Grass and his role in Nazi germany is a good contemporary example. I think we are wise to separate out the artist from their art and not judge them by their frailty as a human. If we did not have a hyped up star system it would be less of a concern. As a puritanical culture we judge our politicians indiscretions in a way very different from how Europeans think of the personal behavior of their politicians.

In what ways are persona and character and an art work’s soul co-joined? Is there more at play here here than simply an indictment of our culture’s infatuation with celebrity? There’s something very true in the thoughts expressed above about our country’s nascent puritanism and our impulse to judge ferociously a misbehaving would-be God.

Your thoughts? About Miller? And beyond.

For those interesting in reading more about these revelations about Miller as they enhance our appreciation of THE PRICE, check out these program comments from our PRICE playbill.