Tag Archives: Disney

Chanel, Warhol and Bardot: The Greater Evils

26 May

Andy Warhol's Mickey Mouse: Whose creator 'Disney' was a Nazi

I’ve come to the realisation that amongst the things I most admire in the world of art, I also have a deep loathing for the creators.

Aside from Edie Sedgwick, another icon I adore is Brigitte Bardot. The timeless southern French style, the bed hair so loved by Sienna et all, and the curves that attracted the cult-like following.

Andy Warhol sits comfortably at the top of my artist hierarchy; the man is a genius. Since I was very young I have collected Andy Warhol prints, from the shoe cards I picked up in Chicago, to the images of the man himself larking around that I found in an Austrian museum.

Chanel epitomises elegance with the basic yet luxurious silhouettes, and the iconic interlocking C’s which so many lust after.

I loved Bardot’s birthday message to Sophia Loren:

“I wish a happy birthday to Sophia Loren, my splendid twin, and I ask her to stop wearing fur – that is the best gift she could offer me.”

Yet alongside Bardot’s work for animal rights, she also happens to be a raging racist. In 2004 she was fined for inciting racial hatred in a book where she aired her disgusting views on acial mixing, immigration, the role of women in politics and Islam. She is also reportedly homophobic. Sarah Palin… here’s your match.

Andy Warhol refused to help his friend Edie from her own self destruction, resulting in her break down and tragic fate. He even refused to acknowledge their friendship years after her death, saying “it was just so long ago. I hardly knew her at all.” As an Edie fan, I found Guy Pearce’s portray of the artist in Factory Girl disturbingly cold, yet sadly accurate.

Coco Chanel was a Nazi sympathiser, who had a relationship with Nazi officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage. As much as I loved reading about the Cannes Chanel show, it’s hard to shun the fact that the lady behind the name spent the second world war in the snug bosom of the far right. After all, it was those in the Nazi-infested Ritz who bought her perfume. After the war, Coco and her perfumes went into exile in Switzerland; she most certainly wasn’t wanted at home.

Yet with this knowledge I’m reluctant to say that I still adore Coco Mademoiselle; the perfume that reminds me of going on holiday, spraying it liberally all over my coat in duty free at the age of 12 with the early established connection of luxury.

When I last got my haircut I asked for a ‘Bardot’, and when I visited the Tate a couple of months ago my heart skipped as I came across some Warhol goodies in the shop.

How far can we allow the actions of our idols influence how we view their art?

Should we always condemn their evil, or is it wrong to break the wounds?