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Tate Modern 'removes naked Brooke Shields photo'

Oct 2, 2009

LONDON (AFP) — The Tate Modern has removed a nude photo of actress Brooke Shields as a child after a police warning about obscenity, the Guardian newspaper said.

Brooke Shields

The Tate Modern, one of Britain's most prestigious art galleries, had been planning to include the photo of Shields, aged 10, wearing heavy makeup and taken from the knees up, in its new Pop Life exhibition.

The picture taken by American artist Richard Prince and called Spiritual America, was removed from display by gallery officials after a visit from the police Obscene Publications Unit, according to the Guardian.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that officers from the unit had met Tate staff.

"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," he said.

The image of Shields was of potential concern to police because it was of a 10-year-old, and could be viewed as sexually provocative, the newspaper said, quoting sources.

The work, which is a photograph of a photograph, was shown recently in New York, without attracting major controversy, at the Guggenheim Museum, it said.

A Tate spokeswoman said the display had been "temporarily closed down" and the catalogue for the exhibition withdrawn from sale, the newspaper said.

The work had been accompanied by a warning about its sensitivity, and the Tate had sought legal advice before displaying it.

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