Art director in child porn inquiry

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The Independent Online

A respected figure in the French art world faces prosecution for displaying "child pornography" in an exhibition six years ago.

Henry-Claude Cousseau, 60, director of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris, exhibited paintings, drawings or videotapes by modern artistsin Bordeaux in 2000. A local child defence group brought a formal complaint at the time. Magistrates in Bordeaux have placed M. Cousseau under formal investigation.

He faces possible charges of "diffusing pornographic images of a minor" and "diffusing violent, pornographic material, accessible to minors" and could face a €75,000 (£50,000) fine and up to three years in prison.

The exhibition, called Presumed Innocent, was an exploration of the ambiguities of childhood as seen by 80 artists. Works included a painting of a heavily made-up girl in a bath by the American Garry Gross. Other works alleged to show, or hint at, child sexuality or abuse were by Annette Messager, Christian Boltanski, Mike Kelley, Cindy Sherman, Tony Oursler, Nan Goldin, Marlene Dumas and Carsten Holler.

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