Tate set to lose thousands over nude Brooke Shields

The Tate Modern may lose thousands of pounds from exhibition catalogues which show a nude picture of Brooke Shields aged ten.

The gallery displayed the nude image last month but removed it after police from the Obscene Publications Unit visited the gallery.

However, the image is reproduced in a catalogue printed to accompany the exhibition.

Tate Publishing had 10,000 paperback catalogues printed priced at £24.99 each and 2,000 hardbacks which were meant to sell for £35.00. If sold at full price they would have fetched over £300,000.

The Tate is currently selling a limited number of the catalogues with a sticker placed over the image. A spokesman said the sale was a “temporary measure”.

The gallery said: “We are in ongoing discussions with legal advisers about the catalogue.”

The original image is a photo of a photo taken in 1975 and features the actress nude from the knees upwards and wearing make up.

It hung in a separate room from other parts of the exhibition with a warning posted that some visitors may find it “challenging”.

A spokesman for the gallery said at the time: “Tate has taken measures to inform visitors of the nature of the work, providing information outlining the intentions of the artist.”

But the children’s charity Kidscape said the picture was “bordering on child pornography. It is certainly not art”.

Kidscape’s founder, Michele Elliott continued: “If you are using a picture of a naked child to bring people to your exhibition, then you are exploiting that child.

“It’s as if they are using a 10-year-old girl for bait. I find it disturbing and they should be ashamed of themselves.

“And putting the picture in a room with a warning outside really is a magnet for paedophiles.”

In 1981, Miss Shields lost a court battle to get back the negatives of the image. The original was taken by Garry Gross, a US photographer, in 1975.

It was commissioned by Miss Shields’ mother, who was intent on turning her little girl into a child star. Brooke Shields’ first starring role, aged 12, saw her play a child prostitute in Louise Malle’s Pretty Baby.

The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said: “I think that any parent of young girls would just be so shocked to hear that a tax-payer funded gallery thinks it is alright to show photographs of a nude ten-year-old in the middle of a pornography exhibition.

“How far do things have to go before we eventually say enough is enough?”

He continued: “They took legal advice to see what they could get away with. Why didn’t they take advice from ordinary parents and the public as to what’s appropriate?”

In the days following the uproar, the Tate took down the image.

Police officers from the Obscene Publications Unit visited the gallery and the room displaying the picture was then closed.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said at the time: “The officers have specialist experience in this field and are keen to work with gallery management to ensure that they do not inadvertently break the law or cause any offence to their visitors.”

A spokesman for Tate Modern said: “The exhibit is temporarily closed. We are in discussions with police.”

The gallery has since replaced the original image, entitled Spiritual America, with a later image of Brooke Shields made by the same artist.

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