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question of the day: Should there be a retirement age for artists?

BBC News noted this week that director Steven Soderbergh has said that his next two films will be his last, and that he’ll retire from filmmaking afterward. Soderbergh said:

When you see those athletes hang on one or two seasons too long, it’s kind of sad.

I have to confess that, though I’m a huge fan of Soderbergh’s, this gave me pause:

Soderbergh, 48, is planning a Liberace biopic, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and a film version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with George Clooney.

Maybe it is time to retire. (Soderbergh does, by the way, have two films already in the can — “action film Haywire, starring Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor, is due out next month while thriller Contagion, featuring actors including Kate Winslet and Jude Law, is expected later in the year” — so there are four more film to come from him. Unless he changes his mind and unretires.)

A followup poll of Guardian readers asking whether artists should retire has more than 61 percent of them agreeing that “Yes – too many artists continue long after their creativity has dried up.”

Should there be a retirement age for artists? Who could possibly make such a decision about when to retire accept an artist herself? Is there any way to mandate a retirement age for artists except by audiences refusing to participate as audiences anymore (which still wouldn’t prevent an artist from making art, only from having it seen)?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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