Blanchett backs Bill Henson & Bolt bolts as controversy heats up

May 28, 2008

In a development to be applauded Cate Blanchett and some of her pals from the 2020 conference have filed an open letter in support of embattled photographer Bill Henson. See here.

This defense of Henson, penned by Alison Croggan, is aimed at Kevin Rudd, who is behaving in a way more reactionary way, than the Howard Government may have on this issue! In the open letter it says,”The potential prosecution of one of our most respected artists is no way to build a Creative Australia, and does untold damage to our cultural reputation.”. This is, of course, true.

Good ol’ Andrew Bolt has added his his ‘two bobs worth’ here.

He makes a few wry, humorous and sardonic points about a few of the defenders of Henson. Sometimes he’s right. He also postulates his own suggested defense of Henson, “If they want to defend Henson, there is only one morally admirable way to do so: to argue that the benefits of letting an artist show naked girls aroused to their new sexuality causes more good than harm, whether to the models or to other girls who’ll be watched with newly aroused eyes.” This sounds more controversial, than many defenses, he heaps scorn on.

For me, the main defense of Henson, is simply that of free speech and freedom of artistic expression. Like Graffitti art doco’s, David Irving, X rated films, Larry Clark and Pasolini movies, etc. Freedom of Speech is simply that. You either defend and support it or you don’t! And from my experiences at MUFF over the years many people in the arts community are selective in their support of freedom of speech and Bolt is right to lampoon these clowns, as the hypocrites they are.

6 Responses to “Blanchett backs Bill Henson & Bolt bolts as controversy heats up”

  1. Greg Maxwell said

    I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.
    The crime is in the mind of the beholder.
    See an underage naked girl and fantasise about corrupting or abusing her youth and vulnerability, you’re a bad person. See the same girl and appreciate the potential woman and the beauty of that potential and you’re an art afficionado.
    Me, I see both.

  2. Gregory Carlin said

    In the UK the Henson photo would be child pornography, that is the de jure position as a factor of the SOA 2003

  3. Geoffrey said

    This is the link to my petition. Thank you for the opportunity to post it here.

  4. To support Bill Henson’s work habits on the basis that what he makes is “art” is to lend weight to the stance that other work that is “not art” can reasonably be suppressed, regardless of the means or methods of productions.

    There maybe be good reasons to come to Mr. Henson’s defense, but “art” is not one of them.

  5. richard777 said

    Good comment Greg.

    Tony you also make an excellent point. Its about freedom of expression in all its forms and free speech. Whether something is ‘art’ or not should not come into it.

    But do you hold any limits to freedom of speech and expression, Mr.Comstock? And if so what are they?

  6. michael said

    Gregory Carlin claims that the photo would have been illegal under British law. However i have seen a couple films out of the UK in the last few years which have featured nudity by under 18’s. Am wondering if these laws would apply to such films or arethere other exceptions

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