Monday, October 19, 2015

Can an artwork be guilty of a crime?

Graham Ovenden is now a twice-convicted child abuser with a fixation on very young girls.  Nothing about that can be defended. Or anything other than condemned utterly.

Graham Ovenden's paintings have also been sentenced to destruction by court order. 

The ones in his studio, that is.  The many in public and private collections will continue to exist despite being presumably equally tainted.

If this act was to protect victims from their images being promulgated against their will, I would probably understand that.  But a direct obscenity charge seems untenable against the works themselves, if the new images are anything like his previous works.

It is not a comfortable thing when a recognized artist is also a sexual criminal.  But his body of works now exist in their own right and have their own complex place in art history. Those already in galleries around the world (now mainly withdrawn from display) and those the pubic has not (and may never) see.

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