Nude Art Inquiry dropped

Australian police have dropped an obscenity investigation into photos of nude children at an art gallery that sparked a major debate on censorship. Investigators said no charges would be brought over Bill Henson’s portraits, which feature naked 13-year-olds. The decision appeared to clear the way for reopening his exhibit, shut on 22 May, at Sydney’s Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Read on…

Sydney’s Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery was scheduled to host an exhibition showcasing the work of acclaimed Australian photographer, Bill Henson. However, just hours prior to its programmed debut, the gallery was stormed by police confiscating 12 works on display and another 20 from the storeroom, while the gallery website was also forced to remove the offending imagery.


18 thoughts on “Nude Art Inquiry dropped”

  1. As far as I can see this is no pornography, is it art is difficult to say, I am not a connaisseur !

  2. This goes back to the earlier post talking about no artists having the guts to portray boys in art. I was attacked for what I said but just like I said then there are artists that do and if they do this sort of thing happens.

  3. Confidential confession first: I haven’t read the entire article, but just the parts above which Josh copied for us.

    And I’m quite disappointed that such an incidence happend in Australia, which I thought to be more or less liberal. Am I wrong with that? At least the case was dropped. Could have ended worse, couldn’t it?

    Honni soit qui mal y pense. That was exactly what I thought, thanks No 2. What could make people consider the imagery above as porn? There is not the least indication to me. And besides I doubt that anyone was harmed by Mr. Henson’S work, so why is there a nececcity for the officials to intervene at all?

    Et, monsieur Daph. , vous n’avais jemais remarqué votre moral jésuite? J’aimerai lire ton réponse a No. 4. C’est étrange, n’est-ce pas?

  4. Don’t see any porn there. It’s only suggestive when taken together. The images by themselves, with one exception, don’t appear particularly suggestive. I’ve known plenty of kids who’ve raided their mothers makeup without suffering anything worse than an acne outbreak. Wonder what the PM would think of “Year of my Favorite Soldier”

  5. These are fine images. They are offensive in their suggestiveness because we are titillated by them and the PM’s censorship stems from his own personal guilty feelings. It’s not always a case where the child is seduced by the adult, many times the child seduces the adult and that consent is rarely recognized. We would like to recapture our youth at various points in our lives. Example being the mothers who parade their little girls like dolls in beauty contests. Dress, makeup, pose, they are imitating the big pageants. If anything is offensive its those things where the contestants truly are objects to be ogled and judged. Why doesnt somebody rant about this type of “beauty”? We should not question where love, beauty, and consent come from. We should question when it doesnt! The ancient Greeks believed they were touching the divine when beauty was expressed. They especially appreciated it in their youths, both male and female. We still feed and maintain archaic ideals about sensuality when we find this philosophy offensive. Remember people we are all naked under out clothes! One belief is not everybody’s belief. How can we have so many options for purchase in our stores and have no tolerance for personal diversity? If you really want something offensive hypocrasy is always available.

  6. I have seen other Henson work which has some merit. This is crap. This awful trend to dark, black emptiness is dreadful. After 20 years of suffering all black clothing (oh, how original!!!) we are now entering a period of more black and darkness in many other forms. This is tiresome. It suggests the bankruptcy of originality. The banality of nihilists who are bereft of talent and ideas. Enough of this dead end darkness.

  7. I heard that the girl said on television that it was all okay for Bill Henson to do thix exhibition, and that she was aware of everything that was going to happen. When that’s said, everyone opposing the nature of the artwork need to sit right down.

  8. Cops, politicians, clergy, and tabloid hacks are in no position to judge art. It’s like having a nazi judge the Talmud, or the Bush administration judge the Koran.

    They have build in extreme bias’s against the subject at hand. Now if other artists raised objections I’d listen. I understand not one has. indeed they’re protesting this cultural hooliganism.

    That being the case.

    I say fuck’em all to hell. These book burning heirs of the evil Inquisition will reap what they sow. Also if I ever manage to get all the way to New South Wales I plan to piss on their rancid graves.

    Ahem. Strong letter to follow!

  9. The police thugs acted on 3 complaints (yes 3 !), incited by talk-back radio. Pedo hysteria is particularly strong amongst the great unwashed in Australia. That and racist views were allowed to rise to the surface under the previous conservative govenment. These views all stem basically from lack of education – Australia is a very anti-intellectual country. In fact, ‘intellectual’ and ‘academic’ are often used as terms of abuse. Also, Australia has always had surprisingly conservative censorship practices. Many films that can be seen in most western countries are banned in Australia (eg Ken Park, Baise Moi). It’s not unlike many western countries though in having sections of society that rarely mix – those who have an intellectual life and enjoy art etc, and a large group who are often obsessed with sport and realtity TV, many of whom have never read a book (and if you think I’m joking, I’m not). The latter group were largely responsible for this furore, with only one politician (conservative, surprisingly) having the guts to support Hensen while the rest were too scared to do so.

  10. Uncle Inkplum, I just love your style. Andy gets this right too. The real problem is with monotheistic dogma which didn’t prevail in the Classical Western era and not at all in the East until the missionaries and their modern day lackeys, the NOGs entered the scene.
    Certainly we must all give due credit to the Aussies for having given the world Donald Friend, unabashed pederast and artist. He created an erotic boy heaven of his own in Bali only a few decades ago which was his personal fiefdom. You can read about his day to day sexual escapades profusely illustrated in his dairies published in four volumes (the last two of which are the most interesting) by none other than The National Library of Australia. Donald Friend even did a pornographic book called Bumbooziana also profusely illustrated with his outstanding erotica.
    Lets face it, pornography even of young boys, may well be one of the greatest of all art forms and once we look at the pre-Christian West, this is an obvious fact.
    We must also thank Australia for giving us the sociologist Paul Wilson. Wilson wrote the excellent book “The Man They Called A Monster” which is online in its entirety at this URL:

    And yes, I love Bill Henson and hope that all this media frenzy he had to endure only spreads word of his wonderful work around the world to all and sundry.

  11. Aren`t all aussies descendants of criminals and sexoffenders, who were send to the island colony as far away from civilisation as possible back in the days???. HAHHAHA, and now moralising the world…FUCK OFF, the more power and higher up the social ladder the more pedophiles there are, like highranked policeofficers, judges etc.hippocrites I say.

  12. Not since Sally Mann’s “Immediate Family” have I seen such evocative images.
    Thank you for sharing these!

  13. Ich kenne etwa siebzig Bilder aus dieser Ausstellung und kann da beim besten Willen keine Kinderpornographie sehen. Henson hat Laien bei nächtlichen Partys fotografiert und einzelne Modelle; diese Fotos wurden dann zum Teil in einen sakral-dunklen Kontext gesetzt. Im kausalen Zusammenhang mit Hensons anderen Bildern, auf denen Straßen, Bahnübergänge, Kirchen, Heiligenbilder uäm abgebildet sind, ergibt sich ein künstlerisches Gesamtbild, dass die Homoerotik nicht betont, allerdings aber auch in keinster Weise ausblendet.
    Ein Gutteil der Personen auf den Bildern sind übrigens maskulin wirkende Mädchen. Hensons künstlerische Sprache bedient sich hier eindeutig der “dunklen” Ausleuchtung. Die helle Haut von Menschen in dunklem Umfeld, ver-blair witch project-ed, lenkt den Fokus dorthin, wo ihn der Voyeur haben will. Die Erotik ist hier im Auge des Betrachters. Nur die wenigsten Bilder sind tatsächlich erotische Szenarien sondern aufgrund der Fokussierung vom Betrachter in diesen Kontext gesetzt.

    Jugend ohne der ihr eigenen Erotik abzubilden hieße, sie zu sterilisieren. Und wer will das schon außer die Wichser von

  14. Australia is the most arch-conservative country (in terms of art and males) with a European population base. Even the United States seems liberal by comparison. Yet in small ways Australia is quite liberal. There is also some group of intellectuals or artsy people who are very liberal, and they sometimes clash with the mob, just like in the USA. Australia is also extremely inconsistent. A few years ago, The Genesis Children, a movie made with the sole purpose of showing 11-18 year old boys being naked, obtained a mild rating. In 2008 the police were arresting people for the most unimaginably minor things (things legal in any other Western/European country), and charging them by a new statute that carries a 10 year penalty!!! Of course, no one gets the full ten years…yet. I looked at nudes (non-sexual) online in a public place (dumbest thing anyone could do in Australia). This earned me three charges which added together could net me 25 years in prison. My friends and family stood up for me (as I have always been a great youth worker and did not hide the fact that I like such art) and all that got them was intense scrutiny. When my wife appeared to vouch for me they took the kids from her for 13 days and now they are under a supervision order! (at least that is their lowest order) I demanded an evaluation and their clinical psychologist and their psychiatrist both CLEARED ME, yet they fought for and obtained the order anyway!

  15. Hello…..The police thugs acted on 3 complaints (yes 3 !), incited by talk-back radio. Pedo hysteria is particularly strong amongst the great unwashed in Australia. That and racist views were allowed to rise to the surface under the previous conservative govenment. These views all stem basically from lack of education – Australia is a very anti-intellectual country. In fact, ‘intellectual’ and ‘academic’ are often used as terms of abuse. Also, Australia has always had surprisingly conservative censorship practices.


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