The real question is: now that Krafft is outed, what happens to his art, especially the works owned by museums? The San Francisco curator told Graves the museum would likely keep its piece — “he [the curator] values the perspectives brought by artworks.” In other words, we need to parse the art from the artist, at least to the point where we can still display and engage with it. On the one hand, I want to be open-minded enough to agree with this, and some of Krafft’s work is undeniably powerful, for instance, his Delftware guns. On the other hand, the whole “the creator isn’t the work” thing strikes me as pretty flimsy here, since the art seems to be very much a representation of the artist’s skewed views. How do you show a Nazi teapot now, knowing that its creator is a Holocaust denier (and that the man who bought it didn’t know)?
“The line on separating the man from the art feels to me in this case like a diversionary tactic our brains do to us to make the simple less simple because simple is dull and in this case kind of horrible,” Graves wrote to me. “The fact is, he’s selling World War II satire portraits where the satire turns out to be a tactic to fool a world full of dumbshits.”