Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Do You Do With a Sex Offender’s Art About Children?

Since the Victorian invention of the modern, romantic concept of childhood, images of the innocent child have dominated Anglo-American culture and its art. Even nude images of young children that skirt the edges of child pornography often get a pass in the name of art evoking and celebrating the magical qualities of untainted youth. News of artist Graham Ovenden’s conviction on four charges of indecency with a child, two further charges of indecency, and one charge of indecent assault irrevocably taints his art that often involves images of young children, specifically prepubescent girls, such as The Picnic (detail shown above). As this Hyperallergic article by Kyle Chayka reports, the Tate Museum in England responded by physically pulling any works they own by Ovenden from public view and even removing the images from their website. Some works by the 70-year-old Ovenden date back as far as the 1960s and have beat back repeated charges of child pornography over the years, but these legal proceedings may have turned the tide permanently against Ovenden. After nearly half a century of institutional acceptance, what do you do with a sex offender’s art about children? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "What Do You Do With a Sex Offender’s Art About Children?"

[Image: Graham Ovenden. The Picnic, 1969 (detail). Image source.]

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