For his series "States of Grace," artist Graham Ovenden photographed children in various states of undress at his London studio from 1972 to 1985. The artist's series of provocative paintings and photos depicts children in partially removed Victorian nightgowns, sometimes wearing blindfolds or posing suggestively. Years later the controversial artist has been convicted of child indecency and indecent assault, the Guardian reports.
This conclusion to a disturbing series of events came after four former child models came forward accusing Ovenden of assault, according to the Scotsman.
Ovenden, whose work has shown at The Met, responded calling the case "a witch-hunt," adding that "the idea of a child naked as something to be frowned upon -– is absolutely abhorrent." He went on to say that he painted “some of the best portraits of children in the last 200 years," the Scotsman reports.
In 1975, he founded a group in the English countryside called the Brotherhood of Ruralists. The artists took inspiration from Lewis Carroll and fairies for their ethereal aesthetic.The Guardian features some troubling testimony from one of the former models:
"I would have my eyes stuck down with black tape. We would have to go through this strange ritual... It was just what we were told to do. That's what we did. You didn't question it. You didn't question a grown-up."
Ovenden is not the first artist to trouble the boundary between art and child pornography. In December French actress Eva Ionesco sued her mother for taking pornographic photographs of her as a child, which were published in Playboy when Eva was only 11. And the eccentric artist Stanley Marsh, known for his expansive Cadillac Ranch in northern Texas, recently settled a lawsuit against 10 teenagers claiming he paid them for sex.
More Arts News:
Artists Announced For Carnegie Biennale: The list includes Phyllida Barlow, Yael Bartana, Sadie Benning and 33 more. (ARTINFO)
How Does China's Priciest Living Artist Live? Zhang Xiaogang reveals the shocking truth: "Every morning I wake up between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., have a cup of coffee, read the news and head to the studio, where I stay until 10 p.m." (Bloomberg)
Sergei Filin To Get Complex Eye Tissue Transplant: Bolshoi director is on the road to recovery after the horrific acid attack. "Doctors pin great hopes on this operation," Filin's lawyer said. (Russia Beyond The Headlines)
Is The Selfie The Cultural Marker Of Our Time? Say it ain't so... (The Guardian)