Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Tate pulls sex shame artist prints

Graham Ovenden's artwork was much celebrated in galleries across the world at the height of his commercial popularity

The Tate has removed more than 30 prints by disgraced artist Graham Ovenden from its online collection after he was found guilty of a string of sex offences against children.

Ovenden was found guilty at Truro Crown Court on Tuesday of six charges of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault.

A Tate spokeswoman said: "Graham Ovenden is an artist of note, whose work has been widely shown over more than 40 years. However, following his conviction at Truro Crown Court, Tate is seeking further information and is reviewing the online presentation of those editioned prints by him that are held in the national collection.

"Until this review is complete, the images will not be available online and the works will not be available to view by appointment."

The 34 prints were given to the Tate in 1975 as part of a larger gift of around 3,000 works. They include work inspired by Alice In Wonderland and images of naked young girls.

The 70-year-old's artwork was much celebrated in galleries across the world at the height of his commercial popularity and regularly included portraits of nude children.

Ovenden told police he was one of the "two or three great printers" in the world, but the court heard that his portraiture formed part of a ruse for abusing girls, making them dress in Victorian clothing before removing it and committing indecent acts.

Ovenden, of The Garage in Barley Splatt, near Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, has yet to be sentenced and was released on bail.

In 2009, the Tate removed a provocative nude picture of a 10-year-old Brooke Shields from a major exhibition following a police pornography probe.

The picture of the American actress was due to go on show at Tate Modern in south London, but bosses acted after meeting officers from the Obscene Publications Unit. Richard Prince's image of Shields showed her from the knees up, naked, oiled and wearing make-up, looking directly at the viewer.

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