I see from this week's British Journal of Photography that the Nan Goldin show "Thanskgiving" at the Baltic Art Center in Gateshead, North-East UK, has closed as the result of the withdrawal of the entire 139 images by their owner, Elton John. This was subsequent to the police visiting the gallery at the request of the gallery management, who feared prosecution for obscenity for showing an image "Klara and Edda Belly-Dancing" of two little girls playing around in an apartment, one of which (aged maybe 2 or 3) was lying naked on the floor with genitals exposed. The police removed this image after visiting the gallery (emphasize, by invitation) and were trying to decide whether it was obscene or not at the time of the closure of the show. I would guess the reason Elton John pulled the pictures was irritation at being branded indirectly as a pervert.

What do people think of this case? I feel on the one hand the image in question was needlessly provocative, on the other I think it ominous that the gallery and the owner of the work have reacted so extremely and prematurely (surely if the police had felt the work was obscene, they would have ordered the show closed immediately?). Would be interested in others' views.

Regards,

David