Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 16:05 UK

Tate pulls nude child star image

Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields started acting as a child

A nude photo of actress Brooke Shields aged 10 has been removed from a major exhibition at the Tate Modern, following a police pornography probe.

Richard Prince's Spiritual America shows Shields from the knees up, naked, oiled and wearing make-up.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was working with gallery staff to ensure they did not "break the law or cause any offence to their visitors".

Gallery bosses said they sought legal advice before displaying the work.

A Tate spokeswoman said: "The room is temporarily closed and we are in discussions with the police at the moment."

It is not yet clear whether the image will go on display at all.

'Causing offence'

The picture of the actress, best known for starring in The Blue Lagoon, was due to go on show on Thursday as part of the Pop Life: Art In A Material World exhibition.

Scotland Yard said its officers met with Tate bosses on Wednesday.

"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," they said in a statement.

The picture of Shields was kept separate from the rest of the display, which features sexually explicit images and works created from the pages of pornographic magazines.

Jack Bankowsky, the exhibition's co-curator, previously said he hoped the artistic interest would not be overshadowed by controversy over its content.

Prince's work is a photograph of a photograph. The original was taken by Garry Gross, a US photographer, in 1975.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Mr Gross said: "The photo has been infamous from the day I took it and I intended it to be."

The 71-year-old said he does not consider the photo pornographic, but does admit that "she was supposed to look like a sexy woman".

In 1983 a US judge ruled that the photos he took were not "sexually suggestive, provocative or pornographic".

He added: "It certainly doesn't breach child pornography laws here because a judge said so.

"In order for it to be considered pornographic here, she would have to be doing something sensual or sexual, but she's not."

One of Shields' first screen credits was at the age of 12, playing child prostitute Violet in the 1978 film Pretty Baby.



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