Meanwhile in France

Article excerpt

A worrying turn of events in Bordeaux: after six years' of investigation into a case that the state prosecutor recommended dropping last year, judge Jean-Louis Crozier has decided to drag the directors and curator of the CAPC museum into court because of their exhibition 'Presumed Innocent: Contemporary Art and Childhood' back in 2000. The three defendants--Marie-Laure Bernadac, Henry-Claude Cousseau and Stephanie Moisdon--are accused of presenting 'violent and pornographic works' in the show, which received over 40,000 visitors and included work by Christian Boltanski, Marlene Dumas, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Annette Messager, among others. The judge is being supported by a local child protection association, while pressure on the three has been driven by an extremist press that has already been found guilty of libel against the accused in its coverage of events. In an open letter distributed by e-flux, the three accused write: 'This attempt to "criminalise" artists and other actors for their creative work, together with the cultural sites that diffuse that work, requires us to be extremely vigilant about censorship of this kind, whose perpetrators are ever ready to use noble causes such as child protection for authoritarian, liberticidal ends.'

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been savaged for his attacks on state support for the arts this year, won some credibility from the left by appointing Frederic Mitterrand, nephew of idolised former socialist president Francois Mitterrand, to the post of minister of culture. …


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