Opening Sentence:Wednesday 21 May, 2008: Morning
Synopsis:On Thursday 22 May 2008, Bill Henson was waiting to open his latest exhibition in Sydney. But that afternoon a ferocious media campaign led police to shut down the show. They raided the gallery, seized photographs of naked adolescents and threatened to charge Henson, one of Australia’s greatest living artists, as a child pornographer.
Politicians across the country turned on Henson. The Prime Minister called his pictures ‘absolutely revolting’. Galleries stripped them from their walls. While the artist remained silent, a debate raged about art, children, censorship, paedophilia, the internet, the police and the media.
In The Henson Case the acclaimed journalist David Marr tells the story of a great national uproar that’s already passing into myth. This is a remarkable investigative essay in which Bill Henson breaks his silence for the first time. Drawing on key documents, and the revealing testimony of principal players, Marr writes of a country divided and a witch-hunt that went wrong.
The Henson Case features details of eight photographs from the controversial Sydney show.
Comments:No-one living in Australia could have possibly escaped the controversy surrounding Bill Henson’s photography of nude teens. It seemed like no-one was left on the fence. Everyone had an opinion, heavily coloured by media coverage of events. Even the Prime Minister had his say. But do any of us really know the full story?
In The Henson Case journalist David Marr chronicles events from beginning to end, bringing to light many facts that were missed in the media feeding frenzy. Throughout the whole sorry mess, I argued to anyone that would listen that nudity does not equal pornography. In my opinion, this book vindicates my position.
So, what is your view? Is Henson’s work art or porn? Is Henson artist or paedophile? Don’t base your opinion on sensationalist reporting. Read the facts, then decide.
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