Hi Folks, The Artswipe is still on annual leave. I'll be back soon I promise. Meanwhile, the culture wars persist, with the latest issue of Art Monthly Australia igniting debate about the issue of child nudity.
Magazine Puts Naked Child on Cover
Daily Telegraph, Sunday 6 July 2008
A taxpayer-funded magazine has used a picture of a naked six-year-old girl on the cover of its July edition in protest against the treatment of artist Bill Henson.
Angered by the "hysteria" over Henson's pictures of a 13-year-old girl, the magazine also has a number of highly sexualised images inside, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper says.
Art Monthly editor Maurice O'Riordan says he hopes the July edition will restore
some "dignity to the debate", the paper says.
It says an angry NSW Premier Morris Iemma on Saturday threatened to withdraw the magazine's funding.
The July edition of Art Monthly Australia also includes several provocative photos of children posing naked in adult jewellery as well as naked teenage girls.
In the editorial, Maurice O'Riordan says he chose the picture of the young girl in the "hope of restoring some dignity to the debate" and to "validate nudity and childhood as subjects for art". Mr O'Riordan, who does not have children of his own, told The Sunday Telegraph he does not care if it stirs community complaint.
"Maybe this is bold, but I don't see the need to give in to that sort of hysteria or the prospect of complaint.
"I couldn't really understand the furore."
Art Monthly Australia receives more than $50,000 in funding from the federal government's Council for the Arts and lists the NSW Ministry for the Arts under sponsors and partner. The state government has issued grants to the magazine in previous years.
Mr Iemma immediately threatened to withdraw future funding after he was contacted about the images on Saturday.
"Images of this kind are distasteful, exploitative of children - a cheap, sick stunt at the expense of a young child," he said.
"We've now reached a sad point where some people think naked kids can boost their sales and get them a headline. We will have no role in funding them while they use images that exploit children."
More than 5,000 copies of the magazine have been distributed across Australia.
The magazine also includes images by Bill Henson.
In May, police raided the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Paddington, confiscating several images by Mr Henson, including the photographs of a naked 13-year-old girl.
The photos sparked major national debate and angered several organisations, including child welfare groups, with Mr Iemma labelling the works "offensive and disgusting".
Mr Henson was cleared of any wrongdoing following a police investigation.
A spokeswoman for the Australia Council on Saturday defended its decision to help fund the magazine. She said the council regards Mr Henson as one of the country's premier artists.