Here we go again… art vs porn in NSW
Sunday January 10th 2010, 12:34 pm

Not porn, get over it

The most read items on mgk, by a huge margin, have to do with photographer Bill Henson and his nude and seminude male and female adolescent subjects:

Censorship, self-censorship and the chilling effect

Paedophilic pornography paranoia

Merits mention that no Henson image has ever received an ACMA rating more restrictive than PG, including the one illustrating this post. Why? Because simple nudity isn’t pornography. If it were, there’d be a lot of stained glass featuring nude cherubs being seized from churches. For an image to be pornographic under Australian law, there must be sexualisation. Simple nudity just doesn’t get there.

Anti-porn wowsers have been stamping around in impotent rage ever since the ill-informed raid on the Roslyn Oxley9 art gallery resulted in red-faced NSW Police sheepishly having to drop plans to charge Henson and the gallery and return the Henson works they seized.

So, what do the self-appointed censors do? Lobby to have the law changed to suit them, against all reasonable community standards… as if that will magically make Henson’s images pornographic.



6 Comments so far
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Gives the wowsers the opportunity to have access to the ‘filth’, talk dirty and make other people responsible for it. It’s an addiction which needs therapy.

Comment by Melchior 01.13.10 @ 7:21 pm


Makes you wonder if Jim Wallace just can’t keep his hand off it and wants his god and the guvamint to save him from himself.

Comment by weez 01.13.10 @ 7:29 pm

Henson’s work is wrong, he is adultifying children. Posing naked is not what 13 yr olds are meant to be doing, this is essentially pornography.

Comment by Sil 06.28.10 @ 12:21 pm

No- YOU’RE wrong. Simple nudity is not pornography. Go look it up in a dictionary.

When simple nudity becomes porn, there’s going to be a lot of ‘pornographic’ stained glass featuring nude cherubs in churches.

Comment by weez 06.28.10 @ 12:29 pm

I agree with Sil. His works that feature nude teens and tweens is sexually procative. I suppose it is entirely a philosphical debate about waht art is. His works i put in much the same catagory as Jill Greenberg’s “End Times” I think that both of these pieces of photography are beautiful in their own right, but i don’t want nude pictures of thirteen year olds or three year olds up in my walls. Don’t know about anyone else on this forum, but I’m just not into that sort of shit…

Comment by Renon 03.31.11 @ 8:42 pm

Sil’s point was that he thinks simple nudity is pornography- and he’s still wrong. For something to be pornographic entails sexualisation.

You may not wish to have Henson’s work on your walls, but that doesn’t disqualify Henson’s work as art. Moreover, the human form is a perfectly valid subject for art. The human form goes through astonishing transformations between birth and death- and all of them are deserving of depiction, even and perhaps especially our pubescent forms.

Depiction of or artistic appreciation of pubescent or prepubescent human forms doesn’t make one a paedophile. It’s when one acts out sexual behaviour with children or adolescents that one earns the moniker.

The nut is that if you ‘don’t like’ Henson’s work, don’t buy any. Henson’s work remains art and it remains fascinating and beautiful. I’d own some Henson art but being a pensioner, my budget for such extravagances is limited.

Comment by weez 03.31.11 @ 9:11 pm

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