Spiritual America

10.01.09

It seems Richard Prince’s Spiritual America is still causing a debate.

A controversial piece of art based on a 1975 nude photograph of actress Brook Shields has been removed from a London art exhibit over concerns that it breaches the U.K.’s obscenity laws. The piece shows a 10-year-old Shields, nude, oiled, and heavily made-up, standing in a bathtub and looking directly at the camera.

The Tate Modern took down the provocative 1983 piece called Spiritual America by American artist, Richard Prince, after Metropolitan Police launched an investigation.

The artwork was based on the infamous image of Shields taken by photographer Garry Gross.

The work was removed from the Tate Modern exhibit Pop Life: Art in a Material World. The temporary closure of the room where the photo was exhibited comes after the Metropolitan Police said they were investigating to see if the artwork might violate obscenity laws.

The Obscene Publications Committee, a division of the Metropolitan Police department in London, requested the temporary removal of the piece, on the grounds that it might violate the Obscene Publications Act of 1964, which states its intention to “strengthen the law for preventing the publication for gain of obscene matter.”

Due to the photograph’s controversial nature, the Tate Modern says it sought legal advice before deciding to display the piece and planned to display it behind a curtain in a dark room with a sign in front warning viewers of “challenging” material.

– Read the full article by Alexa Lightner at ABC News

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