Victory For Family Protection Over Pornography
6 August 1999
VICTORY FOR FAMILY PROTECTION OVER PORNOGRAPHIC 'ART'
The decision of the Office of Film and Literature Classification to classify nine out of the 18 depictions by Keith Haring submitted by the Christian Heritage Party has been welcomed by Party Leader Graham Capill.
"This is a victory for the family. The City Gallery in Wellington promoted Keith Haring's work as suitable for families. It even staged a "Family Fun Day". This decision says they had that totally wrong," Mr Capill said.
"While the legal reasoning in the decision is open to question, the decision is a landmark in that it sends a strong message to gallery directors that they have a responsibility to protect children.
"It also cautions promoters of this sort of so-called 'art' that sending catalogues of an artist's work to the Censorship Office is not sufficient. What is displayed in a Gallery will not be judged as being the same as what appears in a book or catalogue," Mr Capill deduced.
The Wellington City Gallery had submitted the book Keith Haring, but had failed to submit the exhibition itself for classification. While the Classification Office allowed the book 'unrestricted' circulation, they have classified some of the drawings in the exhibition as objectionable.
"The decision goes a long way in setting a benchmark for art. Pornography masquerading as art will not escape the classification regime, and that is good for families.
"The real test will be whether Internal Affairs will reclassify the book which the Classification Office made unrestricted. If they do, it will substantially overturn previous decisions and set a proper standard for galleries and museums to follow.
"While the Wellington City Gallery may feel no moral obligation to protect families, we are delighted the Classification office has effectively done that. If these institutions are not prepared to protect children from sodomy and bestiality, who will? This decision is a victory for families and for setting limits on art exhibitions," Mr Capill concluded.
Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766