Critics say childhood photo of the actress, then 10, could draw pedophiles

By Simon Perry
Updated October 01, 2009 08:30 AM
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

A nude portrait of Brooke Shields taken when she was 10 has been removed from a major London exhibition after police visited the gallery.

Artist Richard Prince’s photograph, set to be shown starting Thursday as part of the “Pop Life: Art in a Material World” exhibition at the Tate Modern, had raised the indignation of children’s advocates. The room containing the shot of Shields, now 44, has been closed

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“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,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said, confirming the Wednesday visit by the Obscene Publications Unit.

The investigation was prompted by Kidscape, a group that campaigns against child abuse in the U.K. Founder Michele Elliott said the image could be a “magnet for pedophiles.”

The Prince piece is a photograph of a photograph originally taken by Garry Gross, shot with permission of Shields’s mother, Teri Shields, and showing the heavily made-up child star naked. Gross told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that “the photo has been infamous from the day I took it, and I intended it to be.”

The Prince work has already been shown at New York’s Guggenheim Museum without controversy.