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 Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?

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Schmiggens

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PostSubject: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:50 pm

More galleries in Bill Henson nude children row



POLICE are investigating photos of naked children held by the National Gallery of Victoria and teh Newcastle Regional Art Gallery as the controversy over photographer Bill Henson widens.

The NGV has 94 Henson photographs in its collection, including a montage depicting a partially naked child in its third-floor exhibition. Officers yesterday went to the NGV, but did not remove any works.

In New South Wales, officers are looking into four works at the Newcastle gallery. The city council said it purchased the images in the early 1990s.
"Two of those works depict young people. We have never received any complaints about the works," a spokeswoman said.

Police last week raided a Sydney gallery and confiscated 20 Henson photographs featuring naked children aged 12 and 13. They are considering criminal charges over the exhibition, condemned by politicians and child abuse groups but defended by the art world.

Assistant Commissioner Gary Jamieson told Melbourne's Herald Sun police would evaluate Henson's works.

"If Henson had works on display in Victoria we would go through the process of evaluating those works," he said. "We would, no doubt given what has happened in NSW, take some steps to have those works evaluated."

The NGV defended the artistic merit of Henson's work. "He has consistently represented the nude figure and explores adolescence as a theme," a spokeswoman said.

The gallery said the human body, regardless of age, had provided subject matter for artists since ancient times.

NGV deputy director Frances Lindsay said the 94 Henson works held by the gallery represented the artist's full range of work, from portraits to landscapes and buildings.

"One work is hanging in the NGV at present. This work is part of the series displayed at the Venice Biennale in 1995 when Bill Henson was Australia's official representative.

"He is regarded as one of the greatest photographers of our time and all of the Henson works in the NGV Collection have been collected in the context of his contribution as a celebrated artist."

Albury Regional Art Gallery removed three images of naked adolescents after a police visit on Friday, but Monash Gallery of Art, which holds 30 of Henson's works, yesterday stood by the artist.

"He has consistently explored human conditions of youth, and examined a poignant moment between adolescence and adulthood," MGA director Jason Smith said. "I regard his work as sensitive and highly respectful of his subjects and his viewers."

Barrister Brian Walters said there was a distinction between pornography and art. "I think it would be extreme to call it pornography. Pornography is intended for the purposes of sexual gratification," Mr Walters said.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians child health expert Dr Anne Smith said child welfare was more important than art. "At 13 years old, the girl in question is a minor. Her guardians have a responsibility to keep her safe," Dr Smith said.

Henson did not return calls yesterday.

- with the Herald Sun.
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:52 pm

'I never felt uncomfortable. Bill made you feel incredibly safe and calm'



ARCHITECT Zahava Elenberg was 12 when she posed for controversial artist Bill Henson. Now, more than 20 years later, she has "absolutely no regrets".

Ms Elenberg, now a 34-year-old mother, and another woman who once posed for Henson's dark and evocative photographs, yesterday came forward to offer a spirited defence of the artist, whose works were seized in Sydney last week.

"Bill asked my mother at an exhibition opening if I would like to pose for him and we talked about it and decided to do it," Ms Elenberg, who did not pose nude, said.

"We went to this old building in Melbourne. It was quite dark, but I never felt uncomfortable. Bill made you feel incredibly safe and calm. I never felt that I wasn't in control."

National Gallery of Victoria chairman Allan Myers yesterday also came to Henson's defence, saying the furore over the internationally acclaimed artist's images depicting naked children reflected Australia's intolerance of artistic expression.

"I just think it reflects the general immaturity of our society that the coppers go blundering into an art gallery and start grabbing what are indubitably works of art on the grounds that someone has been 'disgusted'," said Mr Myers, a leading lawyer and art collector.

Mr Myers, who stressed he was speaking in a personal capacity, said the right of people including the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to be disturbed by Henson's work had nothing to do with what should determine rules of freedom of expression.

"But I don't think Australia has been very tolerant of artistic expression ever. I don't think things have got worse, they are still bad," he said.

The issue of whether the Melbourne-based artist's depictions of children and youth are "art" or "porn" has polarised the community since Sydney police seized 20 of Henson's images, featuring a naked girl and boy said to be aged 12 and 13. Charges are being considered.

Another mother, Joelle Baudet, who posed naked for Henson as a 24-year-old, said she was approached by the photographer at a gallery opening in the mid-1990s.

"The experience was enlightening His work is sublime and only a warped mind could associate it with such crassness. My children and I enjoy seeing his photographs daily in our home."

Child advocates insist the images sexualise children and say no one could "consent" to them. Retired family court judge John Fogarty said the images he had seen were "shocking", while the chief executive of the Child Wise group, Bernadette McMenamin, said she was concerned about how "consent" had been obtained.

"It is clear from the UN convention on the rights of the child that parents do not have the right to make that decision on behalf of their children," Ms McMenamin said.

Hetty Johnson, of the group Bravehearts, who appears to have lodged the complaint that resulted in the police raid, said the community outrage was "a message to the arts world to be responsible, not to be selfish around this".

Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin said she disagreed with the photographs, but she also did not agree with "the way in which children are being bombarded in many other places".

- The Age
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:53 pm

CATE BLANCHETT - BLANCHETT'S PLEA TO PRIME MINISTER OVER AUSTRALIAN EXHIBIT

Actress CATE BLANCHETT has signed an open letter to Australian Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD - urging him not to censor a controversial photography exhibition.

Police in Sydney, Australia, shut down an exhibition of photographs by respected artist Bill Henson last week (beg19May08) because the show featured naked pictures of 12 and 13-year-old children.

The move has sparked a heated debate in the country over the line between art and pornography.

And Blanchett has come to the defence of the exhibition, insisting Rudd should not block Henson's work.

The letter reads: "We should remember that an important index of social freedom, in earlier times or in repressive regimes elsewhere in the world, is how artists and art are treated by the state.

"We wish to make absolutely clear that none of us endorses, in any way, the abuse of children. Henson's work has nothing to do with child pornography and, according to the judgment of some of the most respected curators and critics in the world, it is certainly art."

- Contact Music
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:55 pm

Oh, no come on... I can understand the concern, but there's a difference between artistic photographs done in controlled settings and sleazy kiddy porn done by fat sweaty men in their sound proofed garages...

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 9:01 pm

That top photo doesn't really show what they were like. There was full frontal nudity and even though it's not provocatively shot, still it's a bit wierd. It makes you feel odd looking at it.

I don't think it's porn in the traditional sense, but it is an outlet for paedophiles to get access to images of naked tweens in a legitimate way.
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 9:07 pm

One of the photos:

(The actually exhibit doesn't have the black strips, obviously)

Rest of them here:
http://www.news.com.au/gallery/0,22056,5031912-5010140,00.html

I just think that if that was my daughter, I wouldn't want the images displayed.
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Wed May 28, 2008 9:07 pm

Oh definitely... Sad that's quite true...

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Thu May 29, 2008 2:17 pm

I can't speak for anyone but me, but I would NOT let my daughter or son pose for nude photographs, period. I don't think porn is the definition, but I wouldn't be comfortable with the world viewing my child like that. I can see the art side of it, but putting a picture like that on a museum wall would be beyond what I'd be willing to do. Who knows how many pedophiles would download it and use it as porn? Also, could you imagine walking into someone's house and they had full frontal nudity of a 12 year old? Wouldn't you kind of wonder about them? Like "that's my daughter Kelly up there, when she was in 7th grade". Hmmm....the more I comment on it, the weirder it seems to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Thu May 29, 2008 6:32 pm

yeah I know exactly what your sayin Amy.

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Thu May 29, 2008 7:01 pm

No, you're right Amy. Wouldn't be my daughter. But you've got to remember that he certanily got that girl's mother's permission. What that says about the mother, I don't know.

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Fri May 30, 2008 12:50 pm

Kids have nudity clauses in their movie contracts now, and that's considered art, why this is different, I don't know. I understand the concerns, and I think it's more than a little creepy but there definitely is a difference between porn and art. I would never let my kids pose nude for anything, but if this weirdo got parental permission, well that's the parent's deal and they should be getting the punishment, not the photographer.
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Sat May 31, 2008 9:50 pm

I think that we need to keep in mind that although some view this as art, it will be used by pedophiles to cater to their obscene urges. We don't need nude photos of children period. There are too many child molesters out there and it is all too easy for them to get pictures like this. It all makes me sad.

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:54 am

In the latest Smodcast, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier suggest that this is only an issue because the girl in question could be thought of as attractive. If she was overweight with an extreme acne problem, it wouldn't be an issue of art or child exploitation.

I must say I have to agree. I don't think people would be talking about it if that were the issue.

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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:51 am

I never really thought about it, but I guess its true. But would non pedophiles even want to look at pictures of ugly naked kids?

That being said- NOT MY DAUGHTER! Anybody trying to take naked pix of Nikki is a dead man
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PostSubject: Re: Naked Tweens ... Art or Porn?   Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:06 pm

I can imagine a photographer even suggesting it to you would get put down.

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