Defining yourself by your preferences is a fragile way of living.
I love this essay, it rings true. Enjoyment of art may be an expression of persona or just an act of curiosity and enjoyment, but to have it become the entire persona, like a cobbled-together ransom note from 50 different magazines.... that's dangerous.
Side note, I once had coffee with someone who had dated a person he described as "perfect" - but he'd dropped her when she admitted she didn't know who Pedro Almodovar was.
THIS statement: "... the separation of problematic art ... the defining of offensive art—isn’t really pertinent to the art, but simply a reflection of the viewer, which is a bit like looking into a mirror and blaming the mirror for what you see." Comedian Ricky Gervais talks a lot about this regarding people who are offended by his humor. And, for this same reason, I do not worry about people unsubscribing from my Substack. Interesting topic, Charles, as always.
The viewer's mind and perception are the beginning and ending of taste. There is nothing..out there.. a painting, an essay, a tree are all part of an ever changing dance that we all participate in. Don't judge it so harshly, go with the flow, enjoy the swim.