Gatekeepers of censorship: Contemporary erotic art in a digital age

When: Wednesday 23 January 2019, 6:30 — 7:45pm
Where: The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts
Tickets: £15, £9 via Royal Academy

Celia Hempton, Edward (detail), 2017.
Celia Hempton, Edward (detail), 2017.

Join Julia Farrington, associate arts producer at Index on Censorship, psychoanalyst and professor Adam Phillips, and artist Celia Hempton as they discuss the challenges in creating erotic art in today’s contemporary art world with journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark.

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele were two artists that frequently scandalised their audiences in the early 20th century. But what if they were making the same works now – would they be censored? What defines erotic art? Who decides when erotica crosses the line into pornography?

In an age of successful digital media platforms and the prolific production of transgressive artworks, new methods of censorship have become a controversial and impeding issue for contemporary artists. Our panel investigate how censorship has changed in the digital age and to what extent it stifles an artist’s creativity.

Julia Farrington

Julia Farrington

Farrington is associate arts producer at Index on Censorship. She runs Index’s UK programme monitoring contemporary forms of censorship and self-censorship in the arts and reinforcing institutional support for artistic freedom of expression. She co-edited Art and the Law, a series of bespoke information packs for the arts sector, looking at the rights and legal framework around what is sayable in the arts in the UK. She has also worked with the police, examining their role in the removal or cancellation of controversial artworks in recent years, and is currently heading up Risks, Rights, Reputation – challenging a risk averse culture an Arts Council England-funded training programme for CEOs and trustees of arts organisations.

Artist Celia Hempton

Celia Hempton

Hempton lives and works in London. Her work is included in public and private collections including Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia, The British Council, London, UK, DRAF, London, UK, Fiorucci Art Trust, London, UK. Current and forthcoming exhibitions include Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, Michigan Museum of Art, USA, Taking Up Space, Government Art Collection, London (2018), Tainted Love, Villa Arson, Nice, France, Personal Private Public, Hauser & Wirth, New York (2019).

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips

Phillips, formerly Principle Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital, London, is a practising psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He is the author of numerous works of psychoanalysis and literary criticism, including most recently Unforbidden Pleasures, and Missing Out. He is General Editor of the Penguin Modern Classics Freud translations, and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.

Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark

Wark is one of Britain’s most experienced television journalists. She has presented a wide range of programmes including the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight. She also hosted the weekly Arts and Cultural review and comment show, The Review Show (formerly Newsnight Review) for over a decade. She has conducted long form interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter, Elton John, the musician Pete Doherty, Damian Hirst to George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth. Her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, was published in March 2014 by Two Roads – an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently writing her second novel.

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