Monday, 1 October 2007

Thanksgiving

Staff at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (UK) have alerted local police to a potentially obscene image of a child, and they are currently assessing its legality. The picture was to have been included in a retrospective exhibition by photographer Nan Goldin, titled Thanksgiving. The exhibition is currently on show at Baltic, though this single image is missing.

The photograph (Klara & Edda Belly-Dancing, 1998) shows two young girls, one clothed and the other naked, both of whom have their legs spread open. It has previously been seen in several international exhibitions: Thanksgiving (White Cube, London, 2000), I Am A Camera (Saatchi Gallery, London, 2001), Le Feu Follet (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2001), The Devil's Playground (Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2002; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2002; Castello di Rivoli, Rome, 2002-2003; Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2003), and Still On Earth (Fundacao de Serralves, Porto, 2002). There's a full-page reproduction of the original image in Goldin's monograph The Devil's Playground (2002).

Photographs of children by Robert Mapplethorpe, Graham Ovenden, Ron Oliver, Will McBride, David Hamilton, Tierney Gearon, and Annelies Strba have previously been investigated by UK police as potentially obscene. In America, the FBI investigated photographers Jacqueline Livingston and Jock Sturges, though ultimately no charges were brought.

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