On the third of November, Chicago-based artist Michelle Hartney posted her own labels next to Picasso’s The Dreamer and Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women at the Met in NYC. Her label next to Picasso referenced his illicit affair with the 17-year-old model of The Dreamer, while the label next to Two Tahitian Women mentioned Gauguin’s “sexual forays” in Tahiti.
In applying her own labels to these works, the artist hoped to call into question the character of the artists and dissuade viewers from “worshiping them as creative geniuses,” which is commonly the case.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about Hartney’s action; on the one hand, it’s good to know the full story behind the artists whose work we’re viewing. On the other hand, do the sins of the artists subtract from the value from their work? What do you think?