Incommunique

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Artistic Immunity

There’s a whole lot of hooha going around over Bill Henson’s latest exhibition. As far as I can tell the opinions on both sides completely miss the point. Every-one is focussed on either his right to “artistic expression” or “protecting the children”. This has nothing to do with art. It’s to do with the law. But none of the people speaking about this are asking if the law was broken. If the Police have reasonable grounds to suspect that the law was broken then they must investigate. Every-one else should butt out until the investigation is complete and charges are laid or not laid. No criminal act should be forgiven in the name of “artistic expression”. If you break the law then artist or not you should face the consequences. Crime is crime. You can’t have “artistic immunity” for committing crime.

Update: Seems like I spoke too soon:

Senator Brandis says artists must act within the boundaries of the law. “No artist has a carte blanche to say, ‘Because I’m an artist, I’m entitled to breach the criminal law in relation to matters like child pornography’,” he said.

Arts Minister Peter Garrett says artists have a right to confront audiences but must operate within the law.


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