"I delivered talks at universities and lecture halls arguing that the fan’s capacity for enthusiasm was as holy as the works of art we lived by."
"I would quote a passage from Salinger’s 'Franny and Zooey' comparing a performer’s audience to 'Christ Himself,' a righteous entity worthy of serving. I found similar comfort in a scene from 'Manhattan' in which Woody Allen’s character asks what makes life worth living, then rattles off a mix of cultural touchstones (before landing, of course, on 'Tracy’s face'). At nineteen, I wrote in a private journal that 'the knowledge that anything I feel has already been expressed in a work of art' was my version of feeling watched over by a higher power. I still value the sanctity of the artist-audience exchange, but it worries me when conversations about artists’ misdeeds end up centering on it. When an artist is revealed to have abused someone, we ask, 'Can we still like their art? Is it still O.K. to?' These questions treat every individual’s response to art as a morality test. They confuse optics with ethics, muddying a useful distinction between reacting to a work of art—an act that, after all, is something visceral and involuntary, like laughter—and materially supporting it.... "
Writes Tavi Gevinson in "What 'Tár' Knows About the Artist as Abuser/Todd Field’s film about the downfall of a world-famous composer shows the toll that untouchability takes even on the person it supposedly benefits" (The New Yorker).
ADDED: Here's the passage from "Franny and Zooey":
“I don’t care where an actor acts. It can be in summer stock, it can be over a radio, it can be over television, it can be in a goddam Broadway theatre, complete with the most fashionable, most well-fed, most sunburned-looking audience you can imagine. But I’ll tell you a terrible secret—Are you listening to me? There isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. There isn’t anyone anywhere that isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that goddam secret yet? And don’t you know—listen to me, now—don’t you know who that Fat Lady really is?… Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It’s Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.”