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Gallery Defends Reaction To Police Child Porn Raid

Yore's installation The Arse End Of The World, which was part of the exhibition
Jun 17th 2013 | 2:55pm | Staff Writer
The St Kilda gallery at the centre of the child porn police raid scandal has defended its decision to re-open the exhibition as it waits for further clarification over appropriate classifications.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Melbourne artist Paul Yore would likely be charged with child porn offences after police raided and seized works from the Linden Centre for Contemporary Art. His installation featured as part of a tribute exhibition to controversial Australian artist Mike Brown. One of the centrepieces of the works allegedly featured Justin Bieber's head pasted onto a cardboard cut-out child, which was urinating from a dildo.

Linden Chairperson Sue Foley has now broken the gallery's silence on the matter with a statement that explains their decision to re-open.

“We acknowledge that questions have been asked about our response to this matter and are acutely aware of the concerns of the community and of those who have had difficulty understanding our decision to temporarily close the gallery and seek classification for the work,” Foley said.

“These decisions were not taken lightly and were debated vigorously, with all points of view considered. Ultimately, the decision was made to temporarily close the gallery while we worked through the complex issues which included obtaining greater clarity on the legal issues faced by Paul and the Centre and the substance of the police concerns, practical and moral rights considerations in keeping an incomplete exhibition on show with works removed by police without the artists' consent and safety and wellbeing concerns for our staff and visitors.”

“As it became clearer that the police investigation and the classification process were going to take longer than we hoped, we became increasingly uncomfortable with the gallery being closed. As such, and on the basis that the works of the other artists, namely Fergus Binns, Trevelyan Clay & Kate Smith, Jan Lucas, Simon Pericich, Nick Selenitsch & Alex Selenitsch were not in question, the gallery reopened on Tuesday 11 June 2013.”

The gallery has been advised by the Australian Classifications Board that elements of Yore's installation require a Classification 1 – Restricted rating, which means it will be restricted to over 18s.

“We are working through what this means in practical terms and will continue to consult with all the artists and our stakeholders when making decisions about how best to proceed,” Foley continued. “It is important to note that we understand no charges have been laid against Paul and we hope this will remain the case. The police seized a number of items from Paul's installation at the gallery and classification was sought on Paul's work in its altered form.”

She added, “It's crucial that the issues raised about Paul's work are viewed in the context of the exhibition and the intent of his work. Like Mike – Now What?? pays homage to legendary Australian artist Mike Brown his energy and restlessness, his use of materials and his intuitive processes… As Paul has stated, the intent behind his work is to confront fear, boredom, confusion and apathy. Like Mike Brown, Paul's work is conversational, confrontational and uncompromising.”

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