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British artist jailed for more than two years for sexual offences against children

Graham Ovenden's work in Tate collection withdrawn from view as gallery continues review

Graham Ovenden

The British artist Graham Ovenden, who was found guilt of sexual offences against child models, will go to prison after the Court of Appeals in London decided today, 9 October, that a previous court’s sentencing was too lenient. The 70-year-old artist, who in June received a 12-month prison term suspended for two years, will now serve 27 months in custody.

The court rejected Ovenden’s claim that his interest in young girls was artistic and not sexual. His conviction of six charges of indecency with girls and one of indecent assault in the 1970s and 80s was deemed safe and his petition to appeal the verdict was rejected. Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said that the artist had not shown a “shred of remorse” for his victims, the BBC reports.

The Tate has removed images of the artist’s work from its website and prints from its reading room. According to minutes of a trustees’ meeting in May, the gallery is reviewing whether or not there is any direct connection between the works in its collection and Ovenden's crimes. A spokeswoman for the Tate says: "While this review takes place, the works by Graham Ovenden held in the national collection are not available to view online or by appointment. The change in sentence does not affect this review."

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21 Oct 13
18:4 CET


Ovenden's case draws attention to a much wider malaise. This regards the moral, or lack of moral applications in established institutions, schools of art instruction and of course the market place. There is a systemic failure here. Art and aesthetics have frequently pointed to ethics and virtues, some made visible by philosophic terms such as 'divine proportion' for example. We needed not call for a denial of todays pluralism but we do need to examine so-called arbiters of taste whether they be creators or institutions dedicated to cultural expression.

15 Oct 13
0:32 CET


@Helen J.: Or the films of Roman Polanski, for that matter?

11 Oct 13
15:45 CET


The Tate is right to undertake a review of this living artist's work. But what about, for example, the work of dead artists such as Eric Gill who abused members of his family?

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