Elton John closes exhibition after child pornography probe

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An exhibition of photographs from Sir Elton John’s personal collection has been closed, a week after one of the works of art was removed by police in a child pornography probe.

The gay star asked the Baltic Centre to close the exhibition of the work of the renowned American photographer Nan Goldin just nine days after it was opened.

Police seized Klara and Edda Belly Dancing which features two semi naked young girls playing.

The photograph was seized by police on the 20th September 2007, after staff alerted them to concerns over the image.

A Baltic spokesman said: “Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art at the request of the Sir Elton John Photography Collection has closed the exhibition, Thanksgiving, by Nan Goldin.

“After the removal of one image from the series it was no longer possible for Baltic to exhibit the collection of works as the artist intended and therefore Baltic is sympathetic to Sir Elton John’s request and supportive of the decision.”

Last month, Sir Elton released a statement defending the exhibition:”The photograph exists as part of the installation as a whole and has been widely published and exhibited throughout the world.

“It can be found in the monograph of Ms Goldin’s works entitled The Devil’s Playground (Phaidon, 2003), has been offered for sale at Sotheby’s New York in 2002 and 2004, and has previously been exhibited in Houston, London, Madrid, New York, Portugal, Warsaw and Zurich without any objections of which we are aware.”

Sir Elton is one of the world’s foremost collectors of photographic art and has several thousand photographs in his collection, including works by Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams.

Goldin’s fine art and documentary based work, which is often inspired by her own experiences has attracted controversy in the past.

Police received complaints about her photographs featuring naked children at an exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery in 2001.