Tag Archives: Bill Henson

6yo Costs Hospital $200,000


The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that a charity exhibition for Sydney’s Children Hospital has been cancelled because one of the featured photographs is of a six-year-old boy with no shirt on. Archibald Prizewinner Del Kathryn Barton, took the photograph of her son naked from the waist up. Now there is a great turn of phrase. Not “shirtless” but “Naked from the waist up!”. I wonder how close they were to using the term “Topless”.

Organiser Patrick Joyce said the image may not comply with the hospital’s strict rules on the use of images for children and that the rules would apply despite the exhibition scheduled to be shown off hospital grounds.

The collapse of the exhibition, which featured some of Australia’s top artists, is expected to cost the hospital up to $200,000.

Tamara Winikoff, the executive director of the National Association for the Visual Arts,  said that since the Bill Henson scandal, when photographs of youths and children by Bill Henson, one of Australia’s most famous artists, prompted media outrage and a police investigation, authorities were scared to associate themselves with any images of children. ”In our zeal to protect children we are erasing them entirely,” she said, “Nudity is being conflated with pornography, even though representations of nudity had been part of Australia’s artistic tradition throughout history.”

Parallels have been drawn with the Bill Henson scandal in 2008 when images of naked 12 and 13-year-old girls were used in one of his exhibitions. “In our zeal to protect children we are erasing them entirely,” Ms Winikoff said.

This censorship is the continuation of a disturbing trend in the Western World. A logical fallacy in unthinking operation.

“All paedophiles enjoy looking at images of young children.  Peadophiles are people. All people who enjoy looking at images of young children are paedophiles.”

And so art again becomes the plaything of faceless bureaucrats enforcing the rules imposed on us by the fanatical few. Once more we are being strangled by censors.

Australia, Strangled by Censors


Here in our gloriously free and oh so safe country, Australia, yet another Government is working hard to ensure our happiness, safety and contentment.

Having just been told that our internet is going to be fixed so that we are no longer menaced by internet  nasties that our guardians don’t like we now have a Governmental intent to change the laws on what is and isn’t art.

The New South Wales Government has released recommendations to scrap the defence of ‘artistic merit’ in relation to child pornography.

It is part of a report compiled by police, the DPP and Legal Aid in an attempt to make a clear legal distinction between pornography and art.

So now we will have artistic merit determined by Government Committee.

Just like Germany and Russia during the 1930’s and Eastern Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s what is considered acceptable in architecture, music, theatre and the visual arts is soon to be decided for us by those who were once our elected representatives.

The talent of Bill Henson has once again been the excuse for this brutal slap in the face for Australia’s arts community.

Regardless of the fact that this law allegedly can only come into force once an item has been declared “Child Pornography”, once that decision is made, apparently by the Director of Public Prosecutions, then “artistic merit” goes out the window and is not even considered. Not a good start for any defense to a crime which is simply “In the eye of the beholder”. There is no objective way of defining “pornography” whether adult or child.

This new law suddenly appears just weeks after Senator Conroy announced in Federal Parliament that the “Great Firewall of Australia” will be fully operational by 2011. If that measure goes ahead in its current form then Australia will be off the internet map. All the little special interest groups will have their special interest desires met.

The “Pro-family” groups will have total censorship of pornography. Not just the “Kiddie Porn” of which those of us who oppose this measure are assumed (by Senator Conroy) to be devotees but adult porn which is currently legal under Australia’s censorship laws. They will also be able to block all sites which mention voluntary euthanasia, safe drug use or abortion.

The “anti-gambling” groups will have succeeded in banning, in Australia, all gambling sites on the internet.

The Religious Right will get their jollies because atheist websites and “alternative religion” websites will be banned, blocked or shut down.

How long will it be until a political party takes advantage of being in office to ban all sites promoting their opposition?

The “Clean Feed Filter” which is going to be used is almost exactly the same as the filter the Chinese Government, a noted liberal regime, was going to use but then decided that it was unworkable.

So, between these two arms of Government, it seems we Aussies are in for – I was going to say, “An interesting time.” In reality we will regress to the drabness of the Puritan regimes in both England and the then new Americas.

The art work comes from, in order; Mike Fitz, Bill Henson, Phil’s Phun, I Am your God.
Visit here for background on this issue.

Click on each image to biggify and run your cursor over the images.

Censored Nude Camel Toes and Beavers


Every day I check the statistics on my blog. Just the total visitors. After all I am not a fanatic.

Much.

But occasionally I look at the other statistics WordPress provides. It is interesting (to me) to see what brings people to my blog.

So here are the ten most viewed articles on the archive over the past 30 days.

Pornography, Censorship and Art. Same old, Same old!

The Best Camel Toe Picture Ever Taken

Nude Gymnastics and Swimming

Second Best Camel Toe Picture Ever Taken

Shaving Her Beaver

Nine Inch Nails Meets Harry Potter

The Seven Dwarves

Blonde Chick with a Nice Pussy

What Is The Speed Of Light?

It is fascinating that top of the list is a serious article although I realise it has only gained popularity because Google decided to use the image of a young girl from that post as their top image for a search on “Bill Henson”.

I’m not sure just why an image lifted from “Looks Just Like” has jumped up into sixth spot or why three innocuous cartoons are in the list.

The entry which leaves me shaking my head is at number 10. Out of 3,399 posts on the archive (this is post No. 3,400) a serious – well, sort of –  post on science rates this highly. It doesn’t seem to fit with the other nine which could be grouped as “Sex, Celebrity and Censorship”.

Pornography, Censorship and Art. Same old, Same old!


I am severely lacking in writing inspiration today.

Not that I don’t have a lot to write about. I have a very important subject to write about. It is just that the words wont come out in a satisfying way.

Australians will know what I want to write about when I mention the name “Bill Henson“.

Considered by many to be Australia’s foremost photographer, he is fascinated by twilight, the space between day and night, by adolescence, that space between child and adult. The moment of hesitancy. He has been exhibited around the world and his work is hung in some of the most prestigious galleries.

Online, some of his work is visible and much more can be seen on the net – just google the name and then click on “Images”.

Now to the the subject, the controversy. The best way to follow the developments is through a series of news items.

It began five days ago when police raided a Sydney art gallery. Within hours, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd weighed into the debate and the police began questioning the photographer. Betty Churcher, head of Australia’s National Art Gallery gave her opinion while some of the subjects themselves spoke out. The controversy widened to another gallery while more than 40 of Australia’s leading writers and artists supported Henson. Today the police have rejected the art world’s outcry, while two prominent politicians have supported the photographer.

In another report today, Louise Adler, the head of Melbourne University Publishing, one of 44 prominent figures who have signed an open letter urging Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to rethink his condemnation of the photos as “absolutely revolting”, calls the controversy a ‘beat-up’.

“I don’t believe that paedophiles and pornographers are going to rush to Roslyn Oxley’s gallery to find Bill Henson’s work for stimulation,” she said. “The question is, is it a private matter, one of taste or is it that the community has to come down and make a judgement?

Do we need to be chaperoned by the state on these questions?” she asked.

I don’t believe we do. Although I know a lot of people will disagree with me.

Everyone’s comments are welcome, although I do reserve the right to adjust the wording, but not the intent of some comments, where those comments may be viewed as offensive by some readers of the archive.

So that truly informed debate can take place, the image which originally sparked this controversy is over the jump.

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