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The new French censorship

The new French censorship

Larry Clark, photographer and director of Kids, Bully, and more recently Wassup Rockers, is being exhibited in a large retrospective at Musee d’Art Moderne de Paris. This exhibition has caused outrage, as the Mairie de Paris has prohibited under-18-year olds from viewing the show. This is an echo of the controversy that haunted the Presume Innocent exhibition at CAPC in 2000. This current censorship by the Mairie de Paris has been brought on by the idea that teenagers must be protected from Larry Clark’s explicit sexual representations. This is a misguided view, as art can not be compared with pornography, it is not the same intention, process, and result. This censorship is not in the interests of teenagers. The best way to protect them is not to ban them from shows like this, but to show them the dangers — notably of drugs — that Larry Clark so much focuses on. Under the pretext of protecting the curators and the museum directors, the Mairie de Paris is compliant with the regression speech in France about art as a space of free expression and representation. It implicates the progressive judiciaries on the art sphere. Clark’s work studies and portrays the conflictual relationships teenagers go through. He represents kids without puritanism and judgement, so much so that teenagers around the world relate to his vivid and real take on life. This censorship builds a new boundary between the real and its representations, and between the adult and teenager ethos. Kiss The Past, Hello runs until January 2nd 2011 at Musee d’art Moderne de Paris. Text Pierre-Alexandre Mateos