Bill Henson coverage


General Culture, General Photography, Politics

I think it was former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt who described the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. It’s tempting to apply this to Australia and its big scandal about the photography of Bill Henson (see my earlier coverage and this nice overview) - “Massachusetts Bay Colony with computers”, but then that might be not that funny for all those Australians who are appalled by what’s going on (and it seems there’s a fair amount of those), plus it’s not like Australia is the only country that has recently witnessed a scandals like this one. Today, I spent a bit of time looking for what was going on in the press down there, and here’s a small selection.

A Sydney art broker bought a Henson photograph as a protest. Sarah Wilson, who as a young teenager posed for a car ad (which on TV made it look like she was naked and that used the tagline “You won’t beat our bare-bottom prices”), talks about teenage sexuality and ads. The mother of one of the models in the seized photographs defends the artist. Mike Carlton asks for “a super-ministry for Police and the Arts, like the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice they have in Iran.” And Michael Shmith traces the line of enduring artistic intolerance.