This is from a post in a recent thread about William Eggleston. Makes me wonder what exactly is wrong with the beatification of certain artists. Is it a perennial problem, as the poster suggests, or is it a natural human reaction? I think I’m able to still take Eggleston’s photos on face value, to a great extent, regardless of his stature. But his fame, success, all that’s been written about him, his place in the history of photography do not have to be things that get in my way. What if all those things are simply part of art? Art is about human reactions. How history views it, how curators, critics, and gallery owners view it may be just as important as how any individual does. Why wouldn’t I let experts in the art world through the ages influence me when looking at art? They have a sense of art history and a deepened and studied perspective that often challenges me to look at work I might not otherwise have heard of and might not “get” without some background. Photos and art can and do stand on their own, but they don’t have to. They are cultural as well as individual phenomena. That the Mona has had praise heaped upon it for centuries shouldn’t be problematic to my viewing it. I am allowed to still not like it if I choose. The art police don’t show up at my door if I say negative things about it. But why not make its centuries of praise and iconic status part of my viewing experience instead of attempting, in vain, to view it in a vacuum? It’s history simply adds layers to the experience. It takes nothing away. Art has the world swirling around it. Museums are not places where context is left out and judgments haven’t already been made. Why not see the art as part of that world instead of expecting it to stand on its own or be isolated from what we know about it to be supposedly experienced as untarnished or pure? Why isn’t art without its context and history and already-formed judgments the false narrative?