Porn and the Art Market – artmarketblog.com

 Porn and the Art Market   artmarketblog.comYou have probably all heard or read something about the controversial works of Australian photographer Bill Henson that have been confiscated by police due to the use of naked underage girls in his work. I would not normally get involved in a debate that has already been commented on by everyone and anyone but since I have already written on a similar issue involving the work of Nan Goldin, and I am an Australian, I am going to say my piece.

Considering that Bill Henson has been producing similar works for more than 15 years it is unfortunate that he has basically been led to believe that what he is doing would not result in any serious negative consequences. I have no doubt that Henson has been treated unfairly and has been falsely portrayed as some sort of child abuse promoting monster. However, now that the works have come under scrutiny there is no way that action can’t be taken. By not taking action after questions have been raised I believe that the police or who ever else is responsible for investigating such complaints would be seen as advocating eroticised images of children (whether or not they were). I have heard compelling arguments from both sides of the fence and would like to be able to support Bill Henson (who is a fantastic artist) and his work but as a Christian I am compelled to look beyond my opinion as an art critic.

I do believe that there are two main factors in this whole saga that should be considered above all others and they are consent and consequence. I am aware that there have been comments from one of Henson’s former child models that supports his work but the opinion of one or even a few of the former models cannot be taken as I doubt that the children in Henson’s photos were able to fully understand the gravity of the situation or fully comprehend the possible issues and consequences of being photographed naked. Because the children in the photographs were not able to make a decision with the same understanding and awareness that an adult would, they should really not have been allowed to consent to being photographed or have consent given for them by their parents. The second issue of the consequences of not taking some action, as I mentioned earlier, could be used as an excuse for more sinister activities which just can’t happen. I think it is also important to remember that Bill Henson is the only person who really has any choice in this situation in that he can choose to change the subject of his future work but the children in his photographs can’t choose to be taken out of his past work.

I do actually agree with those that are of the opinion that Bill Henson’s work is art and not pornography but as far as I am concerned the question of whether or not Henson’s work is art or not is not the primary issue. I also genuinely believe that Henson’s motives were genuinely artistic and that in no way is Bill Henson a paedophile. Having said this, the life of a child is far more important than anything related to art and artistic freedom.

Photo of Bill Henson and one of his works by: Jon Reid

 Porn and the Art Market   artmarketblog.com**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

share save 256 24 Porn and the Art Market   artmarketblog.com

Related Posts:

Tagged with:
 
  • http://www.beautyisdivine.com Coco
  • Pingback: Porn and the Art Market - artmarketblog.com

  • http://robertfarmerworld.com Robert Farmer

    There are far more disturbing works of art that are morally and ethically corrupt; and I mean from the perspective that it has the capability to offend; Balthus is a renowned artist who made work in the early-20th century of similar narratives involving children. Do we as a society implicate him for being true to his artistic integrity or simply label him as a child molester?
    It’s also quite rampant in film, and no one seems to give that much consideration. Film is obviously fictional..but I guess a 2-d stationary image is a metaphor for reality!
    I wonder then, will my own work of re-interpeting christianity receive such sought-after accolades?

  • http://www.thesexyartist.co.uk Dawn Hilton

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23776064-421,00.html

    If this happened in the UK the guy and mother would be checked out in the 1st instance.

    I’m glad that the police are getting involved, the guy has obviously got some kind of fasination of children.

    Sicko.

    I hope you don’t damage your reputation for justifying this pervert Nick!

    How can this be art?

    As for the childrens mother, she has no right to allow such images to be taken.

    It’s all down to shock and money and the art gallery getting publicity.

    This is not art, there should be a law against this.

    I have my own views on “Freedom of the Artist/creator” This man has time after time broke his freedom.

    Pay the price now pervy and leave the art to ‘US’ creators.

    Dawn Hiton

  • http://www.thesexyartist.co.uk Dawn Hilton

    If artists have a responsibility to push at the boundaries of the acceptable, society has a responsibility to push back. After a decade or more in which children have been increasingly exploited, society is beginning to push back and Bill Henson has been a victim: innocent perhaps, but he should have known better.

  • Pingback: porn girl

  • Pingback: 80 s porn

  • N Croft

    Depends on how you define ‘child’. Its naive to think that there isn’t informed consent, its just from a younger person, but no less reasoned. There are consequences in all out decisions. Some regretful. some not. Did Shirley Temple have her ‘druthers’ later in life? Should ALL commercial enterprises with ‘children’ AUTOMATICALLY be banned?

  • http://lacomunidad.elpais.com/canariaslanzarote/2008/3/8/-the-kiss-luis-villalba-2008 Luis Villalba

    ART PER EXCELLENCIA. AND NOT “ENTARTENE KUNST”.

  • Matthew H

    There will be porn always but really what Henson is doing is what Art has done for centuries. Artists while commenting or reflecting on society also push the boundaries as some have commented.
    There has been little comment however on that of beauty or in fact images themselves. It must be one of the first “art scandals” that actually mentions no particular artwork. It is too easy to pass all the works as one and not really comment on any. Lests look at the context and the works themselves.
    Lets not react without thinking or with seeing.
    Full marks for Henson, asking what is beautiful and can if it can shown.
    The naked and nude have been popular subjects for artists. Can not a naked girl or boy be beautiful? Can not an artist present that interpretation? CAn we not appreciate and reflect before we react?

  • Gregory Carlin

    Henson was an inspiration for our child pornography laws in Britain, in fairness to the global arts world, he is kind of resticted to Oz in relation to his fetish photography of children.

    The police *have* been looking for his ‘difficult’ material in Britain. In other words if he tries it here he gets arrested and he stays arrested. Bill Henson, has a problem, he belongs in a clinic.

  • Gregory Carlin

    “Should ALL commercial enterprises with ‘children’ AUTOMATICALLY be banned?”

    Child pornography and what Bill Henson does, ban that, and make the UN & FBI happy.

    I do think Bill’s issues are heading to the UNCRC, he’s been a very naughty boy.

  • Gregory Carlin

    “It’s also quite rampant in film, and no one seems to give that much consideration. Film is obviously fictional..but I guess a 2-d stationary image is a metaphor for reality!
    I wonder then, will my own work of re-interpeting christianity receive such sought-after accolades?”

    The law in the UK, as applied to films, was retrospective, that was it. Also, it was clear, that Henson was targeting the internet, he was giving jurisictions which had criminalized his stuff, a miss.

    He’s a hick photographer, who reads trash novels, who compares himself to Italian masters. He’s very little support in the USA, Britain or Europe.

    he sells his kiddie stuff in Oz, he’s not allowed to do it in Britain, so a restricted market,

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins