aging popular artists

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Why are we so harsh on aging popular artists?

Discuss and analyze negative responses to late-in-life productions of authors/artists. Many face(d) harsh criticism in later years as a result of: (expectations based on/comparisons to) previous work, questioning of mental/creative faculties, life circumstances (e.g. affluence, change of environment and such), and so forth. I’ve found recent reviews of Toni Morrison’s last two novels (Home and God Bless the Child) and contemporary reviews of Vladimir Nabokov’s Transparent Things and Look at the Harlequins! in past research, but I’m sure that there are more authors/artists that experience this. It seems easy to pigeon-hole a longstanding, well-received author rather than accept a change in style or subject. What lies behind this phenomenon?

  • Might be interesting to examine a gender double-standard here. Artists like Madonna are mocked for sticking around past their prime, while male rockers like Elton John, Keith Richards, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Bon Jovi (the examples are endless, really) seem to only get more popular with time. – agombar 9 years ago