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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
'Artist' denies porn inquiry link
Baltic centre for contemporary art, Gateshead
The Baltic Centre opened in 2002
An exhibit seized from a gallery amid fears it breaches child pornography laws is not the work of a controversial South African artist, it is claimed.

Kendell Geers' Irrespektiv is one of two exhibitions at Gateshead's Baltic Centre to contain "graphic content".

Also on display is a collection by American photographer Nan Goldin.

A spokeswoman for London's Stephen Friedman Gallery, which represents Mr Geers in the UK, said the seized item did not belong to the artist.

Northumbria Police were alerted by Baltic managers on 20 September, the day before five collections were due to be unveiled.

Gallery bosses are remaining tight-lipped about the identity of the artist responsible for the image, believed to be of a young girl.

This item is being assessed and Northumbria Police, in consultation with the CPS, is investigating the circumstances surrounding it.
Northumbria Police

Nan Goldin's Thanksgiving exhibition, from the Sir Elton John Photography Collection, also carries a content warning alerting visitors to its graphic nature.

Goldin, 54, who is well known for her shots of young, semi-clothed girls, was not available to comment.

In March 2001, police were called to the Saatchi Gallery in north London after complaints that controversial photographs of naked children, taken by Goldin, were indecent and would appeal to paedophiles.

But a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said that after careful consideration there was no realistic prospect of any conviction under the Protection of Children Act 1978.

'Sensitive material'

On Wednesday, CPS lawyers were continuing to examine the artwork seized from the Baltic to determine whether it breaches pornography laws.

A police spokeswoman said: "We attended the Baltic last Thursday at the invitation of management, who were seeking advice about an item from an exhibition prior to it going on public display.

"This item is being assessed and Northumbria Police, in consultation with the CPS, is investigating the circumstances surrounding it."

A gallery spokeswoman said no exhibitions were being removed as a result.

Visitors to the 46m arts centre, which opened in 2002, were being warned that some of the gallery's autumn collections contain sensitive material.

Under 16-year-olds were advised not to visit these exhibitions without an adult.




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