When do you disregard an artists?
Me personally? When they aren't saying anything relevant to me.
Should society as a whole (whatever that means) disregard an artists for any reason? When and how?
We don't make decisions as a whole - that subjective quality is what makes art so interesting.
There seems to be some relationship between the quality of the work VS the level of horror perpetrated by the person, as perceived by the public.
I think that the act of becoming a public figure sensationalizes your life. You become part of the spectacle you have created. Your life becomes just as much a commodity, a product of consumption, as the work you produce.
I think any one of us would seem like an absolute monster if subjected to the piercing glare of the celebrity panopticon.
In more rational persuits facts are laid down very clearly and the personal acts outside of those persuits don't really have any bearing on those facts. It doesn't matter if Al Gore is an asshole or greedy or whatever as long as the facts he presents about the climate are true. The one doesn''t wash the hand of the other.
Is that true of art? More to the point, does it matter?
No human, living or dead, is above criticism
Art has an affect on society, our dreams lead us to very real places. Which is not to say that because Micheal Jackson's music creates incidences of sexual abuse. But does it perpetuate the culture which allows for more sexual abuse?
I don't think there ever will be a moral litmus test for artists
nor should there be
MJ is a poignant example because I see him as kind of a Frankenstein's Monster. We created him and we eventually had to destroy him en mass
with torches and pitchforks. This has been the nature of celebrity for thousands of years.
Celebrities are Holy, that's why we rip out their hearts and send their severed heads bouncing down the steps of Chichén Itzá.