April 18, 2011
Offensive content? ... Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes.
"ARTISTS could be forced to have their work classified before being displayed and some work could be blacklisted despite being legal, if recommendations to a federal inquiry into Australia's film and literature classification scheme are accepted.
The Senate inquiry, launched by the conservative Christian Guy Barnett, has heard submissions calling for any film containing full frontal nudity to be refused classification; artworks and books showing nudity to be classified; and all artworks to be restricted to certain age groups. ''Artistic merit'' should be abandoned when classifying art.
The executive director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, Tamara Winikoff, said many of the organisations that had made submissions to or spoken at the inquiry's hearings, and members of the inquiry, had tried to demonise artists and paint them as child pornographers.
Full-frontal nudity ... how would Michelangelo's David be classified?
''We are particularly worried that artists might have to have all their work classified immediately, regardless of the material,'' she said. ''There is a sense [in the inquiry] that art is dangerous.''
Senator Barnett, who chairs the inquiry, is a critic of the photographer Bill Henson, whose photograph of a naked 12-year-old girl sparked a ferocious debate in 2008. He questioned many of those appearing at the hearings about the Henson photographs...
''It would create a huge hurdle for artists and it would create a chilling effect. We have already seen it with [the depiction of children in artworks]. Artists just don't want to be there … there has been pressure taken over fairly innocuous work,'' she said, referring to the collapse of a charity auction for the Sydney Children's Hospital because hospital officials did not approve of a photograph of a six-year-old boy naked from the waist up..."
accessed Monday 18 April 2011