Controversial Nude Shields Image Yanked From London Museum
Thanks to public outrage and a police visit, a prestigious art museum in London has decided to take down a nude photo of a 10-year-old Brooke Shields that critics and child advocates feared would be a "magnet for pedophiles."
The Richard Prince work titled 'Spiritual America,' was scheduled to play a role in the Tate's 'Pop Life' exhibit, but will no longer as law enforcement influenced the museum to take it down. A Tate spokesperson says it has been "temporarily closed down."
The image showed a young Shields naked from the knees up, wearing make-up and covered in oil.
'Spiritual America' is actually a 1983 photograph of a 1975 photograph taken by artist Gary Gross, who hired Shields as a model and claims he had her mother's consent. She tried unsuccessfully to buy back the negatives in 1981, before Prince incorporated it as his own. A judge ruled her as a "hapless victim of a contract."
Children's advocates reacted to the Tate's decision with shock. Michaele Elliott, founder of Kidscape, told the Telegraph he felt Shields was being exploited. "She could not have given informed consent to it being used," he explained. "It must be bordering on child pornography. It is certainly not art."
He continued, "If you are using a picture of a naked child to bring people to your exhibition, then you are exploiting that child. It's as if they are using a 10-year-old girl for bait. I find it disturbing and they should be ashamed of themselves. And putting the picture in a room with a warning outside really is a magnet for pedophiles."
Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.com
Prince described Shields' appearance in the photograph as "a body with two different sexes, maybe more, and a head that looks like it's got a different birthday."
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