Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just In Case You Were Wondering What the Australian Prime Minister Thinks About Art

On May 22nd, an exhibition of Australian photographer Bill Henson's work was shut down and investigated as child pornography. At the time, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd weighed in on the matter claiming he found the pictures "revolting", and added "whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff - frankly I don't think there are any - just allow kids to be kids."

Charges against Henson were later dropped, but the issue of how Prime Minister Rudd feels about naked children in art will not go away. For their July issue, the magazine Art Monthly Australia published a 2003 image of a naked six year old on their cover.

The girl is Olympia Nelson, then 6, now 11, and the magazine editor said the article accompanying the photographs was a critique of Henson's work and was in no way pro-Henson. Nevertheless, Kevin Rudd has still found cause to speak out and call the image "disgusting".

For her part, Olympia was recently quoted stating that she didn't believe the photo amounted to abuse and was "really offended" by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's comment that he "can't stand" the image.

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