Not all artists are concerned with the pursuit of art. not all artists toil away nobly trying to get the world to see the beauty around them. some artists are in it for the money, or for the fame or sometimes, thankfully rarely, for the nekkid people. and some artists are just scumbags.
“one of the world’s greatest painters” (self proclaimed) has fallen from his lofty perch. Graham Ovenden has faced legal prosecution on a number of occasions but has now been convicted of six charges of indecency with a child and one of indecent assault. The different news stories on this subject are very disparate. in my research I’ve seen everything from vitriol against the art world to Victim blaming. it’s hard to separate the facts from the spin in this case but we do know that the victims were former models from between 1972 and 1985. Some articles are questioning their taking time to come forward which is reprehensible. it takes courage to come forward about abuse, it can take a very long time to come to the point where abuse can be admitted. I applaud them for confronting their abuser (who was not there for the conviction). he was also accused of having child pornographic images on his computer, images he accused the police of falsifying.
Much of Ovenden’s work from the time was inspired by the controversial novel Lolita. Some contain titles like “Lolita Seductive” or “Maxwell’s Angel Whores”. His work has also been found in the collections of noted paedophiles. The Tate gallery has removed his images from their walls and website following the jury’s verdict. His partially clad photographs in particular are incredibly hard to view.
Ovenden has yet to be sentenced.
The online campaign began on Monday after a national news program covered the marble penis of David by Michelangelo, one of Italy’s most famous artists, with a mosaic.
The mosaic had been removed by the time the program was rerun the following day but not before the cover-up had caused some anger online. “The statue of David is a well-known masterpiece of art but the TV station treated it like some vulgar adult movie” was one comment on Weibo.com.
“Apparently the TV station doesn’t believe that its audience would treat art properly” was another comment on the microblog.
An online poll by t.qq.com showed only 4.2 percent of those who took part believed it was necessary to put on the mosaic while 93.3 percent said it was totally unnecessary.
The Italian Embassy in China responded to Chinese media enquiries by saying that the TV station had put the mosaic probably to protect its sensitive audience.
It is not the first time that Chinese web users have drawn clothes on famous paintings.
In February 2009, there was anger when a set of Renaissance artworks had been deleted from an album on Douban.com because of their nudity.
They immediately drew clothes on the nude figures in the paintings and put them back online.
The attitude towards the nude in china is fascinating, There appears to be a cultural shift happening as some of the younger generations gain power. The internet breaks down barriers and grants power to everyone and a voice to all. There have been nude protests led by famous Chinese artist AiWeiWei and this online protest is the latest in a culture that is trying to change their historic attitudes.
The online movement, mainly on Weibo.com, has the slogan “Dress the nude rather than add mosaic,” I think it is interesting, however, what does putting clothes on the nudes actually say? what is this movement trying to accomplish? it seems a little counter intuitive to me. are the protesters showing how less attractive the works are with clothing? or are they trying to show more creative ways of covering up than a mosaic? this seems to me to be the wrong way to go about de-sensitizing people to the nude. I understand nude protests. I understand the creativity involved in clothing these works and some of them sound interesting (I have had a very hard time tracking any down), but I don’t understand the movement itself.
For a fascinating look into the history of the attitude towards the nude in china read Fleshing out Morality; an editorial on this event by Raymond Zhou. I was particularly interested in the concept that nudty was associated with poverty and circumstance. his line “As life gets better, circumstance-induced public nudity gets rarer” has given me a great deal to think about.
Bill Henson is in the news again, this time for his controversial thoughts on the risks associated with Arts, Sports and the Church. In a recent interview with the Australian, Henson stated that when searching for high risk areas to children that “The last place you would start with would be the arts.” and that the highest risk areas were the church and sports.
I am amazed that this is even a question. of course sports are higher risk! ask any teen where their injuries came from and they will proudly tell you which sport and what they were doing. I had my nose broken while playing hockey. and let us not forget that massive den of Injuries, women’s netball.
Of course an archbishop of the catholic church has officially gone on record saying that “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”, and naturally we are going to believe him.
Robert Nelson, Art Critic and Father of Olympia Nelson Has commented on this article.
He said risk should be calculated by the severity of the injury multiplied by the chance of it occurring.
”When your kid goes off onto the sports field, it’s a very competitive and actually kind of nasty situation where one kid is really trying to push the other out of the way,” he said.
”And it’s a pretty high chance that something nasty will happen sooner or later.”
Robert Nelson said there was a risk of paralysis associated with sport, and while there were also risks that needed to be considered with art, they were tiny in comparison.
”There is some risk always that the kid will not be happy with the image. You can’t really guarantee that the kid will be, but there’s a very high chance the kid will be proud of it,” he said.
”How we know that, we kind of just don’t see examples of kids or adults complaining about having been traumatised by their picture.
”With risk, you can never completely eliminate it, that’s for sure. But it’s a tiny, tiny risk. And the chances meanwhile of something wonderful happening are quite high.”
As they say, there are risks to everything, and everything needs to be taken into account, but I would feel less concerned about my child experimenting with art than with priests or hockey sticks!
No doubt some bright spark is going to form the argument that Sports are very important for a child’s development. yes, they are fantastic for building coordination, fitness, team spirit and all that. I think everyone should have some sport in their lives. and everyone should have some art in their lives. art is critical for building creativity, free thought, cognitive thinking, hand eye coordination, lateral thinking and so much more. and it is something that keeps giving, long after you’ve blown your knee playing football.
The Model in question, Zoe West, was arrested on August 30, just after she removed her thong for the final part of the process. The models always leave their thongs on until the end and the painting process is very fast so that it’s minutes if not seconds of exposure.
“The New York State Legislature has granted local authorities the right to pass local laws to further restrict public nudity, but the City of New York has passed no such laws,” the complaint states. “Indeed, the City of New York regularly authorizes film companies to engage in nude film shoots in public spaces in the city. Hence, plaintiff was arrested for a crime that does not exist.”
West says three unidentified officers cuffed her anyway without giving her a chance to cover up.
The complaint continues: “Photographers and onlookers snapped her picture as Ms. West, clad only in colorful paint and metallic cuffs, was escorted through Times Square and into a police vehicle by Does 1-3.
“She was transported to the Midtown South Precinct, where she was forced to stand in front of a desk in the lobby of the precinct, still unclothed, for approximately fifteen minutes. Several officers gawked at her as she stood there, humiliated.
“At some point, a female police officer returned Ms. West’s clothing and brought her to a room where she was permitted to dress. As soon as Ms. West was dressed, the female officer searched her, patting her down.
“Ms. West had been at the precinct for approximately two hours when Sgt. Fusaro came into the juvenile delinquents’ room, where Ms. West was being held, and told her she was free to leave. Without apology or an explanation, Fusaro removed the handcuffs from Ms. West and she was released. No charges were filed against her.
Zoe West is now sueing for false arrest and municipal liability.
I wonder, as the Nudity appears the issue, why Sgt. Fusaro or one of the 3 John Doe officers did not provide a blanket or a jacket. continuing to maintain the model in her “offensive state” shows a lack of sensitivity but also a lack of understanding about the issues. if he had covered her up it would have reinforced his message and arrest, by leaving her nude he created more of a martyred figure, tragic and sympathetic. I don’t understand his behavior in this as it seems to run counter to his purpose. I understand Sgt. Fusaro probably did not apologize because an apology would constitute a legal admission of guilt, but I think his behavior was appalling throughout and I hope she is successful in her suit.
I haven’t heard if Golub intends to sue as well, I do know he has continued and will continue to create art on live canvasses throughout New York and I hope that his work is untroubled in the future.
This woman has buttocks, but no dividing line.
You can see where the heal tool was used, and you know that even with some shapes there is no way that this woman was born without a buttcrack.
In Japan, anime with nude breasts can be shown on any channel at anytime- providing the nipples are removed.
In many countries the tiniest bikini (an inch covering the butt and nipples) is enough to satisfy propriety while nudity or g-strings aren’t.
The details, it seems, must be covered or removed.
This makes me wonder. Is it the breast that’s “offensive” or is it the nipple? Are buttocks a problem or just the crack? Why are they offensive? Is it because the are the functional part of that zone? Or because they are the defining characteristics of those dodgy areas? If nipples are the offender then why are men’s acceptable?
Consider this an open forum, I want to hear your thoughts on these questions!
Part one and part two have already been published. This is the third and final part of my 10 minute speech for Sydney University’s Tuesday Talks program. Frequent readers may recognize some passages here, I couldn’t improve on them!
When I initially wrote about the Bill Henson scandal a number of people told me that I would feel differently once I was a parent. As if that would change who I am. I am proud to say that i am now the mother of a little girl and my views have not changed. I believe, as I did then, that if she were approached by an artist to be a model I would support her. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t do my due diligence on the artist to ensure they were on the level, and I would be there with her. But the decision is not mine, it would be hers.
One thing that struck me about the model known as N, the adolescent in the image seen on the invitations that caused much of the furor, is that when interviewed she discussed all the considerations she made before modeling. She considered how she felt about her body, how she may feel about school mates seeing her in the nude and how she might feel about it years later.
The most important thing to realize is that what you take away from viewing an artwork is not just what the artist puts in, it’s what you bring to it as well.
Your past affects it as much or even more than the artist’s intentions.
Everyone sees art differently which is why it is difficult to judge, and why it should never be stifled.
artistic merit should not become a goto excuse for pornographers, that harms us artists more than anyone – but it must be allowed. we cannot create under a blanket of censorship and we cannot be the artists we need to be without freedom to create. art has the power to challenge our views, to make us think and and to change the world. I believe that the arts are one of the most powerful forces of humanity and should never be denied.
There is a difference, too, between sexual and sensual. There are as many shades of gray as there are stages of undress. Art can be arousing. It should be arousing. It should inspire passion. Not just sexually, but in all things. Arousal and passion are not just the pervue of sexuality, but of life. And art is life
Part one is here..
These days the nude appears to have become more controversial as the line between nudity and sexuality has been blurred. The prevalence of porn and sexualized images In the media have led to an automatic association between nudity and sex. A belief that nudity is dirty, wrong, and disgraceful. All of this has led to nude art being pushed to the back corner, far from being the classic and honored subject of artists everywhere.
There is no image of vulnerability more powerful than that of a naked child. Take for example the iconic Vietnam Napalm photograph. Would this picture have as much impact if she was an adult? If she was clothed? The image of her running down the street, naked and screaming, is real, it’s powerful and it’s become a symbol for the horrors of war everywhere. This photograph won the Pulitzer and world press photo of the year.
A nude child is the image of vulnerability, of change. It automatically triggers protective instincts. Good art has the power to move us. It inspires emotion.
Would Bill Henson’s works be as emotive if the children were clothed? if they were small breasted adults? His works capture a moment in time. A fragile period in a teen’s life. These works make us empathize with the subject, I have heard abuse sufferers consider them both triggering works and uplifting and encouraging. Other see a coming of age, loss of innocence. fragile, strong. Whatever you see in this work you cannot deny that it has an emotional impact and that is the purpose of art.
The scandal with Brook Shields and the Gary Gross/Richard prince photographs is another good example. Gary Gross took photographs of a pre-teen Brook Shields for a magazine. These works were highly sexualized, with brook painted with oil and makeup. They were exceptionally adult, and in very poor taste. Brook shields did not get a say in modeling for these works, nor how they were used later on. Many years later Richard Prince took a photograph of the original Gary Gross, then changed it. The final work was seedier and turned the original on it’s ear. Where the first seemed to celebrate child pornography, the Prince version used the same image to condemn it. It still uses a sexualized image of an adolescent, but by using that image to make the viewers uncomfortable it made an excellent point about not turning a blind eye to child pornography.
Bravehearts executive director Hetty Johnston has written to the Baillieu Government asking it to crack down on images such as those created by controversial artist Bill Henson.
But artists say they should not be censored and current guidelines for art are adequate.
A Senate committee has recommended classifications be applied to all media, including art in galleries.
It also called for a review of child pornography laws and for the “artistic merit” defence to be axed from child pornography offences.
Ms Johnston said her group did not oppose art or photographs showing children in real life, but set-up shots of naked children for “artistic purposes” should be outlawed.
“It crosses moral boundaries, and we believe it puts children at risk and it could exploit children,” she said.
Australia’s classification laws are under review and under attack once more.
Hetty Johnston and her band of fanatical cohorts are still not satisfied after Bill Henson’s confiscated works were reviewed by the clssifications board and deemed to be no more hazardous than PG. clearly it isn’t their views that are at fault, but the classifications board itself. when you don’t like the results- change the law. Clearly the problem with child pornography in Australia stems from artists. absolutely without a doubt.
I do believe, however, that the classifications rules do need to be reviewed and repaired. they are exceptionally ambiguous and are not helping us artists in our defences any more than they are helping Hetty. if anything they are already heavily on the Hetty side, but are so ambiguous that it comes down to the preferences and opinions of the board. characteristics such as breast size should not be a factor – breasts do not make a woman. they may as well choose testicle size as an indicator.
While a ban on the sexual depiction of minors will have strong community support, there’s a much greyer area involving adults or even animated characters who look young. Most adult movies (online or DVD) come from America and carry official government statements guaranteeing that all participants are over 18. These cut no ice in Australia. Furthermore, Hentai Manga (Japanese sexual comics) are so popular in Japan that they are freely available for browsing in 7-11 convenience stores and read openly on trains. But they are RC in Australia – potentially a rude shock for Japanese tourists visiting with such comics in their luggage.
Note too, that over the past year, the Classification Board has started using breast size as a criterion in defining child pornography: a less than precise indicator
I also believe that, more than the classifications system, the constitution of Australia needs to be reviewed, amended and honored. how many Australians even know there is a constitution here? who knows what’s in it? The US Constitution is one of the most powerful pieces of writing in the world. freedom of speech is one of the most honored of the freedoms and is celebrated. yes, occasionally it is abused, but it is such a sacred right that it cannot be denied. it seems to me that Australia needs some inalienable rights of it’s own.
artistic merit should not become a goto excuse for pornographers, that harms us more than it harms Hetty- but it must be allowed. we cannot create under a blanket of censorship and we cannot be the artists we need to be without freedom to create. art has the power to challenge our views, to make us think and and to change the world. I believe that the arts are one of the most powerful forces of humanity and should never be denied.
There is talk in Australia, once again, of limiting artists rights. I am likely to offend people with these statements and I don’t care. Ratings classifications don’t belong in the arts. Frankly they barely belong in movies. Most people fail to notice them with regards to tv and movies and still they complain.
Bill Henson is once again exhibiting. This time in Melbourne. I was waiting to discuss the exhibition until after I had seen it In Person but this latest wave of protests have brought me out of my studio and indignant once more about the treatment of artists in this country.
After the press tried and failed to get people riled up about the latest exhibition the right wing nut jobs have taken a stand saying that thhe only thing that will protect the fair and delicate citizenry of Australia from the tyranny of artists is to force artists to undergo the same classifications procedures that movies and tv shows do. Here are some of the reasons this won’t work.
1. Classifications are expensive. Production houses can afford it, individual artists can’t.
2. When the classifications board reviewed henson’s work and came back with a PG rating the protesters were enraged. Even though this was something they requested. They won’t be happy regardless.
3. The ratings system in Australia is fundamentally flawed. Ask any gamer. It isn’t flexible enough to cover art.
4. How do you classify something as subjective as art any way?
5. By increasing the costs for artists you will be raising the price of art for all. In this economy this will probably drive the market further down and for ce more galleries to close.
6. This will fundamentally shift the way australian artists create. It will engender self censorship, make artists less likely to create for fear of the process, the costs and the issues. They may not create their best work, stick to safe things and in the end this may hurt the arts industry more.
I am not unreasonable. By all means make the classification board accessible to all artists to help in disputes, or even to prevent them for the artists that can afford it. But making it compulsory for all artists is irresponsible and despotic to say the least. In the States a bill like this would never reach the floor, here, well I only hope more sensible heads prevail.
Su Zizi – Who am I? via China.org.cn
Nude modeling is a controversial career in China. Some think it is shameful, while others think it is brave. But for Su Zizi, a 19-year-old student from Beijing-based Renmin University of China, nude modeling offers her the chance to pursue pure art.
“In my eyes, nude modeling is a career that needs to be respected, and it is a kind of art I will explore in my whole life,”Su told the Global Times.
“Being a nude model doesn’t just mean wearing nothing for me, it also helps me to know my body better and express my attitude toward the world.”
Su has worked as a part-time nude model for nearly nine months. As a student from a poor family, Su decided to be a nude model to earn money. However, she gradually fell in love with the career and took it as a path to deeply examine herself and society.
there has been some heated debate online about the career and recent exhibition of Su Zizi. the original article on the Beijing News sparked a great deal of backlash online and off throughout China. Sadly, I cannot find the original article, it appears to have been pulled from the site due to the sheer volume of vitriol. this excerpt describes the original article, it’s the closest I could get.
A female college student is at the center of a heated debate over whether it is morally right for her to pose nude for artists or art classes to earn money for her tuition.
A recent commentary in “The Beijing News” suggests that people respect the fact that the student is trying to support herself through a legal job, which is more responsible than relying on money from her parents.
The commentary points out that there are still those who believe nude modeling is an unacceptable business and tend to criticize everything related to it.
But the commentary argues that because nude modeling for artists is just one particular type of modeling, there is no reason to single it out by questioning the morality of those who do it to earn to help themselves.
Moreover, the commentary says if people could change their way of thinking and view the issue from a “healthier” prospective, they would appreciate the student’s courage to be self-reliant through hard work.
The commentary concludes by pointing out that people should be more open-minded and tolerant, because the student did not do anything wrong by trying to be a responsible adult. If the public viewed the situation in this way, it would send a positive message to other young people and encourage everyone to learn more about nude modeling without making any snap judgments about it.
You all know my views on the nude, and on posing nude. what I think is interesting about this story is the way that Su is handling everything. her exhibition was quite successful and she has appeared live in an interview to discuss her views. she’s not shrinking away from the controversy, or the hype. I recommend her interview in the GlobalTimes above, it’s refreshing to hear such a love and appreciation for the nude and it’s power. Su Zizi appears to be a gal after my own heart!
Beijing is gathering steam as an art capital recently and Interestingly, nude photography is quite a hot topic at the moment in China with a trend towards nude photographs to celebrate weddings also making headlines and controversies. I wonder if the growing cultural center is bringing these things to the fore more, if it is the pressure valve for the community.
Kaisa Two by Malcolm Edwards
One entry — a photograph of a woman’s nude back and buttocks — raised the eyebrows of an unidentified city councilman, and Mayor Chuck Hunter removed the piece from the show.
The photograph, entitled “Kaisa Two,” is by Seattle artist Malcolm Edwards.
According to Anne Knapp, PAL president, art league members “are very concerned that the city, which does not have a written art policy in place, has made a decision to ban the piece from the show.”
Another example of the government intervening in the arts to the detriment of all. this is yet another ridiculous censorship with no basis other than the perennial ‘won’t somebody please think of the children?’
“This is a public building, and we get young kids coming through here and we don’t want to have anything that could be offensive,” Hunter said.
The issue is that the exhibition is in City Hall. oh big deal. the fact is that there is no policy addressing the arts, what may be shown or may not. the city apparently uses the Washington State regulations, but there is nothing addressing “obscenity standards” in art in those guidelines. a policy will be made up, but I am betting that it will err on the prudish side as usual.
As usual, I say if they were concerned they should have said something during the jurying process as the works were chosen. rather than letting the artist go to all the additional expense and excitement of exhibiting only to have their artwork pulled by a council member. there is nothing disturbing or sexual in this piece, it’s rather lovely (I enjoy chiaroscuro so I love the lighting in this one!). But there is good news, the work is now on display at For Art Sake Gallery in the Finholm District.
Photographer Bill Henson. Photo: Adam Hollingworth SMH
millennial slippage is the term coined by Bill Henson to describe the current state of affairs worldwide. He emphasized that “The truth of art” should be exposed to our children, that we should never forget our artistic and cultural history. it’s on the basis of this that we can move forward rather than submitting to this millennial slippage.
The speech last night was excellent. Listening to Bill Henson discuss various cultural references, I looked around at a variety of young, blank, faces and I felt how true some of his statements were. we do need to expose our children to art, to history, to culture. art is the expression of history and the cumulation of our civilization. I was struck by Henson’s self effacing nature. watching him you would never know that someone so apparently shy was embroiled in such a shocking controversy that rocked the art world two years ago. It was interesting how little he cited his own work, preferring to discuss literature, composers and classic painters.
The political nature of the lecture was fascinating as he skirted any specific examples and avoided namecalling, calling instead for a return to statesmanship and common sense with more respect for the arts- both historical and current. I believe he feels truly wounded by Kevin Rudd’s insensitive and ill informed comments about his works, but rose above it to be the bigger person (as opposed to the way it was described in The Age).
I was particularly interested in the discussion about consent and censorship. His defense of the censorship board came as a surprise to some. giving credit where credit was due, he made it clear that the board were very supportive through the entire ordeal. The media have leapt on his comments about consent, afterall, Henson attacked a sacred covenant, contact sport for minors. this was a much more controversial statement than his research that life modeling for artists has no documented history of causing trauma to minors. The reverse appears to be true as so many previous models came to his defense during the scandal and remain solid friends.
I rose above my fear of public speaking to ask a question about the attitudes towards the nude in australia. his answer, in essence, was that he believes this is a wave and that most people are smart enough to realize the ridiculousness of the current attitudes, that the nude is a constant through these waves of attitude and censorship and will remain. I wish I agree that commonsense will prevail!
I wrote copious notes and will write about this further, I want to digest my thoughts more before I do. Needless to say, it was a pleasure to listen to such an articulate, genteel soul speak with passion and conviction. for further comments and observations please read Peter Ryan’s commentary at his blog.
The poster, which was unveiled a month back, is an artist’s take on what he calls the “horrors” of the American lifestyle.
“This art provocation is a form of violence
against the sensitivity of many people,” Norbert Napieraj told The Associated Press.
The Prosecutors, however, claim that the poster is art which does not violate the country’s laws against glorifying Nazism.
The poster has been vandalised twice since it was put up but gallery director Maria Czarnecka said that she does not plan to remove it.
Czarnecka told The Associated Press, “Art should be provocative and controversial.”
She insists that the poster does not intend to propagate Nazism but instead wants to explore “symbols and how they work.”
I admit that I find this work fairly unimaginative, it reminds me of the sort of thing you see first year art students creating as they rail against the status quo. it’s angry and designed to offend. the good news is that this time it isn’t the nude that’s causing the furor- thank goodness for that! I agree that art should be ‘provocative and controversial’, that is one of the many points of art, but there is a fine line between designing something to be provocative and creating it in order to offend people. The massive swastika does seem to glorify nazism – how can it not? it’s the first thing you see. it’s the primary focus. perhaps adding more symbols to reinforce their key concept may detract from the implied glorification, I don’t know, but it seems a little inflammatory to me.
I’ve always wondered about artwork like this. when the message is so blatant, and the intent is worn on it’s sleeve (frame?) what is there to ponder? what makes you return to the work? what makes it relatable to people?
Building Blocks by Mark Chatterley
Nonetheless, Miller says this week Chatterley will come to St. Joseph to disassemble the sculpture and re-assemble it inside the gallery. That way it will be out of the view of the general public.
“We are hearing their voices and because of the sensitivities of some, we’ll move it into the galleries,” said Metz.
“To have to drive back and move it because people are offended by the content, in my wildest dreams, I’d never expected that piece to do it,” Chatterley added.
“I want to be very clear. There is not a sex act happening in this work. There is no genitalia. If you look at it closely, there is not a sex act happening in this work. The Krasl would not put a piece of work on display in which the interpretation I’ve heard would be happening. We would never do that. I do empathize. I do see where people could have that interpretation,” says Miller.
The fallout from “Building Blocks,” however, is creating some unintended consequences.
“I’m both extremely frustrated and elated. I’ve seen more people stop and look at our sculpture than in the last two years,” Miller says.
I think it’s great that the arts center is receiving more visitors and notice as a result, that’s a great way to expose people to art. it’s a shame that the controversy is forcing them to move the sculpture. I agree with the Artist Mark Chatterley that it comes as a real surprise. I can’t help but think that if they move the piece the people who think that it’s a sexual piece will feel vindicated. even others will be wondering if there is something wrong. giving in to the great unwashed often makes them believe that they were right all along. this ends up being counter productive for the arts. take a look a the alt tag for this piece in the article- it;s titled and named “obscene_art.jpg” -does that tell you something? it might be for Google’s benefit or it might be their opinion but either way it seems to be very biased
What gets me is that these can barely be called nudes. they are so androgynous and stylized that they don’t have any details that might be offensive. it’s the positioning of these humanoids that seems to be the issue for everyone, get your head out of the gutter! the thing about art is that you bring what is in your mind to what you see.
Do you think this piece is dirty?
He just ran up to the outer ropes stuck his fingers down his throat and threw up. He then stumbled back and tried to throw up again, but not much came out. The guards grabbed him and kicked him out. Marina didn’t move the whole time
The Artist is Present has now finished it’s run at MoMA. this piece has been laced with controversy from the beginning and has fascinated the public and the web. what is particularly interesting is the implied permission for audience participation that has led to behavior both interesting, sad and strange. it is extremely sad that some visitors felt the need to grope the nude figures on display, it’s strange that someone voiced his lack of appreciation by vomiting and it’s very interesting that a woman was so moved by the exhibition that she chose to do her pace to face participation in the nude.
…I thought hard about how to thank her—write a letter, make a film and hand it to her when I sat with her? When I landed on the idea of sitting naked across from her, I knew that was it. I could be, for a moment, as vulnerable to her as she constantly makes herself to us.
Alas, when her moment came, and she disrobed, seven security guards quickly made their way over to escort her out of the museum. Decker tells us:
I thought nudity would bring joy, spontaneity! Not TEARS, CHAOS. I honestly thought that the worst that would happen was that I would be asked to put my clothes back on. I still can’t believe I was escorted out of the building by a group of guards and told that if I returned, I would be arrested. In “The Artist is Present,” the audience is a huge part of the work, and by entering that space and following the rules (sit silently, do not bring anything into the space, maintain eye contact, and the unstated one: don’t touch Marina), I expected any audience member could stay as long as he or she was willing to be present.
I actually understand her thinking here, it’s the kind of statement I would have been tempted to make as well. sometimes things can only be expressed with nudity. it’s a shame that MoMA didn’t see it that way, perhaps if she had pre-arranged it, it would have been fine. I wonder if it was the act of getting undressed that was the problem rather than the nudity itself. it seems to me nudity is often not remarkable, but the process of moving from clothed to nude creates a sexual context, and the inappropriateness. I do wish that Decker had been allowed to express herself the way she wanted.
This piece keeps reminding me of the buckingham palace guards. and reminds me of how seeing that stoic determination and discipline makes people irrationally want to break it. it’s a need we seem to have. why is that?
Mansweat by Debauch
Many GLBT community members have become increasingly concerned that Pride seems less and less Queer friendly and more driven by the almighty buck. Jennifer Pritchett, owner of Smitten Kitten, states “When you let money make decisions for you, you run the risk of those decisions being antithetical to your mission.”
Debauch has been contacted via email by Dot Belstler, the current Executive Director of this year’s Twin Cities Pride. Belstler writes, “I am so sorry this has caused you and your colleagues such pain. It was certainly not the intent – nor was censorship. In the future, we will attempt to be more clear in the call for Art, but please understand that sexually explicit content must be handled with sensitivity.” She also addressed the issue of censorship in the following statement “In this particular case, I believe “Mansweat” may have been confused with the full frontal nudity pictured in “Morning on the Balcony.” Of course “Mansweat” is not too erotic, it is a beautiful painting and we would be proud to display it in the show.”
These comments have left many wondering what constitutes erotica in a digital age. Any search engine will pull up a flaccid penis photograph while searching for information about syphilis. As for art and nudes – sculptures of male nudes grace the entries of some of our most noted institutions including Westminster Presbyterian Church. In this age, why should an oil painting of a male nude without an erection be considered too hot to handle?
The issue of erotica and the queer community is a tricky one. there are the quite right concerns that the dollar is becoming too important, that the conservatives and sponsors are taking over and quashing expression. I hope this is not the case. there is also, often, a concern within the community itself that too much erotica can underplay the seriousness of queer rights, fostering and reinforcing the opinions that being queer is all about sex, that everyone GLBT are unrestrained hedonists. I don’t hear that in this article, but I have heard it voiced as a concern in other Pride style events and I can’t help but wonder if this so-called mix up is due to the dollar, to perception or just to plain fear. the email certainly smacks of frantic backpedaling.
When an artist is well known for their sexually explicit works it often becomes hard for them to gain acceptance for their non sexual art. combine that with the fact that the artist is (gasp) gay and there is a ticking time bomb waiting for a ‘misunderstanding’ like this. it’s unfortunate that it is so hard to straddle both sides of the fence in this respect. usually you have to be either one or the other. People always seem to want to put things, people, artworks, into a box, label it and put it away. Events like Pride should be about breaking out of boxes and away from labels- not reinforcing this habitual behavior.
NO NUDE by KISHIN 1 20XX TOKYO (単行本（ソフトカバー）)
If convicted, Shinoyama faces up to six months in prison or a fine of up to Y300,000 ($A3,861.25).The cemetery was one of a dozen public locations in Tokyo where two models posed nude for a photo collection titled, No Nude by Kishin 20XX, which was released in January 2009.
Shinoyama said in a statement on Thursday the models took off their clothes only briefly, ‘‘seconds or up to two minutes at the longest’’.
He was concerned about the definition of public indecency, which could discourage artistic expression, he said.But Shinoyama added,
‘‘I humbly accept the case as a lesson, and I will pursue my challenges to new forms of expression.’’
Kishin Shinoyama is an iconic Japanese nude photographer. his work has gone a long way towards changing the attitudes towards nude art in Japan over the years and has certainly developed a following, I have found the unusual shapes he creates and interesting lighting rather fascinating. the photobook images were photographed in a range of locations, railway tracks, and most notably a cemetary. what is interesting about the charges here is that this case began in late 2009 for a book that was published i January and a shoot that took place in 2008. This quote is from an article from the original raid in November last year.
Police investigators searched the office and home of Tokyo-based photographer Kishin Shinoyama on Tuesday on suspicion of public indecency over the shooting of nude photos for his book of photos “20XX TOKYO.”
The investigators also raided the office in Tokyo of a talent agency to which one of the two models, a 21-year-old actress, belongs.
Shinoyama, 68, allegedly took outdoor nude shots of the models in Tokyo from mid- to late August 2008 in situations where anyone could see them, the police said.
The Metropolitan Police Department also plans to question Shinoyama, police sources said.
Apparently it took this long to question him.
it should be noted that the fine isn’t actually that stringent, but the threatened jail time is. the basis for all of these allegations is purely on the photographs themselves. no witnesses or complainants have come forward, there appear to be no damages or issues, just a hearsay (see-say?) almost two years after the initial photoshoot. no statement has been made about whether any permits or permission was granted at the time. I think it is sad that Shinoyama believes that he should “pursue [his] challenges to new forms of expression”. I hope that doesn’t mean that he is planning to give up the nude altogether just because of this issue when there seems to be so little basis for a case.
Cathy 32 by Frank Cordelle
They are not images any of us are used to seeing: women of all ages naked, even young girls. It’s part of The Century Project by photographer Frank Cordelle, who said its purpose was to show what girls and women are really like spanning a hundred years and also address problems they face, like anorexia and sexual assault. Not everyone thinks that’s what the project does.
“Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true,” said John Foubert. “I couldn’t believe that college campuses would actually pay a man like this to put his pictures up.”
Foubert, a sexual assault prevention researcher who works at Oklahoma State University, started a Facebook page urging people to protest The Century Project. He has said Cordelle’s exhibit borders on pornography.
“They are pictures that you would find certainly in the collections of sex offenders and the like,” said Foubert.
Beyond that, Foubert said he is concerned that rather than educating about sexual assault, it might encourage it.
The Century Project is coming under fire once again. I sometimes wonder why there isn’t some sort of global legal package set up for this project by now. yes this is an art exhibition, yes it has a range of ages. it’s purpose is to educate women in issues that affect women of all ages and types. this project has been celebrated and criticized.
Personally I find it fascinating I have viewed the images available online for the century project and will probably invest in the book. it hasn’t toured here and I doubt it will with Australia’s ridiculous censorship laws but it is a wonderful concept with many levels of meaning that I think people should be exposed to. it’s uncomfortable to see girls so young with eating disorders, abuse sufferers and in pain. it’s difficult to see the issues that women battle throughout their lives. but it is important. and it should not be censored. The reality of this project is it’s strength. it is sensitive, emotive and deeply raw and disturbing but certainly not pornographic.
It is sad that someone like Foubert cannot listen to himself. just because he says this exhibit is pornographic does not make it true.
Besides, attending an art show is a matter of choice, not a requirement, and anyone easily offended can simply stay away.
Such censorship is ultimately self-defeating, because it only draws attention to the banned works. Would Hebron’s painting have received anywhere near the same level of attention had it remained on display?
People do not need protection from paintings. But Temecula residents should be worried when city government starts deciding which artistic works are appropriate for public consumption.
This article raises the issue that I have never understood about censorship. by censoring pieces indiscriminately there is a greater opportunity to create publicity for the very work that they are trying to squash. how does this make sense? if the aim is to sweep the piece under the rug then rely on the judgement of the patrons. they don’t have to look, they don’t have to attend and they will almost certainly not care either way. however, when a piece is censored, the artist receives publicity, the work receives publicity and the organizers receive flack.
would this piece receive publicity if it were just involved in the exhibition? are artists going to try to push the boundaries in order to receive this kind of publicity? the rewards are great for the great unknowns and the losses very few.
*edit* The city of Temecula has issued a formal apology to the artist. while a very nice gesture it doesn’t address whether the work will be shown and seems to be more about protecting their own interests and votes. you can read it here.
Puberty by Munch
Mr Hatzistergos will today release the recommendations by the NSW Child Pornography Working Party, set up after the Henson scandal.
The group, comprising Department of Public Prosecutions, police and Legal Aid representatives, was instructed to draw a clear line between pornography and art.
Its report, delivered to the Government on Friday, recommends art not be a consideration when reviewing images thought to be pornographic.
Mr Hatzistergos said the proposed laws would cover the production, distribution and possession of child pornography.
“The fact that it is art cannot be used as a defence. The report recommends that once such material has been found to be unlawfully pornographic, whether or not it is intended to be art is irrelevant,” he said.
I have been following this for the last week. there is a lot of information out there and I have not nearly digested it all yet. there are serious, far reaching implications for artists in NSW and in the rest of Australia. this extends not only to visual artists but to authors, directors, anyone. and the terms are broad enough that they could be inferred to apply to anyone or any work involving children. The working party will be judge and jury in this case.
The working party, headed by District Court judge Peter Berman, also examined the use of photographs depicting nudity in a news context.
Mr Hatzistergos said the new laws would ensure the rights of photographers to publish pictures – such as the iconic Vietnam war photograph of a nine-year-old girl running naked on a street after being burned by napalm – would not be infringed.
They openly acknowledge that this piece, although it contains a nude child, is not sexualized or pornographic. however, will the same generous liberties be extended to artists creating works now? the knee jerk reactions so far seem to indicate that all nude children are porn until proved otherwise. I have been reading the new proposed legislation in depth and the powers granted to the “working party” are enormous. I will provide my analysis as soon as possible, I think there are ways for legitimate artists to avoid self-censoring too much. but the fact that we may have to at all is a crying shame
Kneeling by Jennie Rosenbaum
The more i think about it the more i think Australia needs a better constitution. There is nothing here that protects a person’s basic right to express themselves. Therefore we are at the mercy of a government that believes it has the right to morally guide us based on the whims of the party in charge.
It’s no news to anyone here that the compulsory internet filter has been approved. The blacklist of sites deemed too inflammatory will be blocked from public eyes. This list has been proven to have mistakes. Such as a dentist and a school cafeteria. And politically active sites that speak out against the government’s heavy handed censorship. What people overseas may not know is that the party in charge is considered to be the left wing party. it is becoming more and more apparent that both parties here are republican.
in addition to the clean feed mandating what we may or may not view online is a new legislation currently in the works to strike artistic merit as a defence for works containing nude children. Yet another knee jerk reaction designed by the government to try to stamp out child pornography. This, and the clean feed, are supposed to stamp out child pornography. And, like the clean feed, has a snowball’s chance of achieving It’s stated goal.
now, i think child pornography is beyond criminal. I belive it is one of the most disgusting things that exists in our society. However, i don’t believe for one second that targeting artists or individual websites will even make a dent in this issue. The government has gone to enormous expense, removing funds from task forces that were making a difference to fund a witch hunt that all the experts say will have no real results.
i try not to get too political. Especially in a country where i can’t vote, but what are they thinking? Rather than funding projects that do work and actively pursue the root of the problem, this government seems hellbent on attacking symptoms without treating the underlying problem.
I will probably write more later, right now I am too angry to think straight.
Sarah Hatton’s controversial painting
“Each person does figure out for themselves what they think the intent is,” she says, “and some are going to see that it’s negative and others will see it as I see it, which is an innocent observation of what I see every day as a mother.”
I’ve shown the digital scans of the images to various people and seen very distinct reactions. Another gallery owner saw the images as provocation for its own sake, and exploitive of the child.
A man with university-age daughters of his own was not troubled by the images, but wondered if we have “lost the innocence” that would allow us to behold paintings of a nude child and not feel uncomfortable. A middle-aged woman found the images disturbing, and felt that one pose had been “eroticized.”
And then there’s the provocative question that one veteran figure in the Ottawa arts community put to me in an e-mail: “Bishops lose their jobs for looking at pictures of naked children: Should artists be allowed to paint them?”
I am not going to enter into all my previous debates yet again, I think everything I can say has been said on the subject already. I do, however, find this article very interesting. it’s carefully written and worded to provide all sides of the debate and works hard to remain unbiased- even clinical. it raises some very well thought out questions and doesn’t seek to answer them.
I don’t know the works of the artist in question or the story behind the exhibition, so I am not going to comment on the artist’s personal ethics or how the works appear to me. there is a feeling, however, to her comments which make me wonder if this exhibition is a deliberate attempt to utilize such a controversial topic. whether to raise awareness of the issues, to bring the debate about and (hopefully) some kind of answer or definition or just to bring more people into the gallery I couldn’t say. it could be all three, or just, as the artist says, “an innocent observation of what I see every day as a mother.”
I do agree with the man above who is concerned that we have “lost our innocence.” I mourn that we have to analyze everything like this, that they cannot be taken at face value. I think that our fears and constant debate belittle the notion of innocence and our appreciation of the simple beauties in life.
Richard Prince, Spiritual America IV, 2005 -Via Eloge de l’Art par Alain Truong
The controversial nude photo of Brooke Shields has now been replaced by a later version and will go on show from today, according to Tate Modern.
The ‘photograph of a photograph’, by artist Richard Prince, was removed from the show -following police advice – before it opened on 1 October.
In a statement, Tate Modern said this afternoon: ‘In consultation with the artist, Richard Prince, Tate has replaced Spiritual America 1983 with a later version of the work made by him in collaboration with Brooke Shields, Spiritual America IV 2005. The room reopens to the public on Tuesday 13 October.’
[From Nude Brooke Shields photo replaced by 'later version' news - Amateur Photographer - news, camera reviews, lens reviews, camera equipment guides, photography courses, competitions, photography forums]
This is a fairly elegant way around the problem at hand – it fits with the theme of the exhibition and was made in full cooperation with Brooke Shields. it’s also an original work by Prince, rather than a photograph of a photograph. It does not have the same depth as the previous work, however one cannot deny that legally it is a much safer work for many reasons.
Gary Gross, the taker of the original photograph was disappointed that it was removed from the Tate – I guess because out of all of the names in this mess his was the only one that really needed and received publicity.
Comparisons are already being made and lines are already being drawn between the Brooke Shields photograph at the Tate and the Bill Henson debacle last year. conservatives and media alike will be debating the differences are between the different cases and trying to make them both fit the same mould. Many readers here will remember my extensive and vehement coverage of the Henson controversy last year. Some may even be wondering at my stance on this one when I defended Henson so ardently last year.
There are many reasons why these two cases are so very different. nevertheless the gauntlet will be thrown and the aspersions will be cast so I would like to present my reasons why these two cases are so very very different.
Bill Henson works closely with the model and their families. everything is legal, carefully planned and structured around the needs of the model. The model and families are educated in his processes and are fully aware of the situaton. The model in the photograph at the center of the controversy last year was interviewed and mentioned how she discussed it carefully with her family and friends, she considered all sides and weighed up how she would feel about it later down the track. her consent was critical to the creation of the artwork.
Gary Gross obtained the rights to photograph Brooke Shields and distribute the photograph from her mother. Judging by the legal battles and Brooke’s attempts to win back the rights and retrieve the negatives she was not involved in the consent process at all. she was probably not informed of her options or about the distribution rights. The photograph that was going to be displayed at the Tate is a different situation. the rights were purchased from Gross by Prince. there is no record (that I can find) of Shields consenting to the exchange of rights or the revisioning of the original. I would be very interested to hear about her level of involvement and her feelings about the Prince version and of the rights exchange.
The artworks in the controversial series by Bill Henson were seized because it was believed they were pornographic. the Classifications bureau ruled that only one warranted as much as a PG rating. These artworks are not sexualized images of minors. The original Gross photograph is very sexualized. Brooke has been made up and oiled to look like a tiny porn star. her pose is suggestive and I believe the intent of the work was to titillate and arouse. this is a sexualized image of a minor. if you are in doubt imagine an adult in the same situations, poses and lighting. The Prince photograph Spiritual America is in-between. it is sexualized but appears to condemn, rather than laud, the fact.
In this situation context is key. The Bill Henson artworks were displayed as a series in a solo exhibition. There were no other works to detract from the central display and message of the artworks. The original Gross photograph was paid for by playboy and published in playboy subsidiaries. Spiritual America was to be presented in a private room in an exhibition that had several suggestive and explicit images. Penetration, porn and more were presented in the same exhibition. this establishes a mindset and a context to the work. If the piece had been displayed in a series of photographs of celebrities or in an exhibiton condemning child prostitution and pornography then the context would have shifted. it would have been seen in a different light (although still contentious – it’s a very difficult piece)
This may be pure bias, but I believe it needs to be pointed out. one is a photograph of somebody elses work. it is a revision, not a complete original. it has elevated the original and added an emotional quality however the artisty in Bill Henson’s artworks is undeniable. from composition to lighting Bill Henson’s work is original, well crafted and achingly beautiful. the two are not comparable images.