Gross he Richard Prince photograph of Brooke Shields that Tate Modern recently withdrew from the exhibition Pop Life, after Scotland Yard suggested it might shields obscenity laws, travelled across the Atlantic carrying a long history of controversy.
It shows a year-old Shields, oiled and glistening, naked and made-up, nude in pics marble bathtub with a seductive danger that belies her years. It tells you everything about what we fear and desire.
Prince, Schorr tells me, has never met Shields. Intent on questioning notions of authorship garry originality, he rephotographed an existing image that had already brooke two years of legal debate.
It was one of a dozen images of Shields designed, according to Gross, to reveal the not-so-latent sexuality of the prepubescent child. By then Shields, who began modelling at 11 months, had achieved national notoriety: Prince enshrined it as a kind of coda to celebrate freedom of expression. I think she was happy when Richard took the picture and made something of it because it was a big fuck you to Garry Gross.
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Gross, 71, continues to exercise his right to sell pictures of Shields, though eBay prevented him from auctioning prints of adult diaper companies on its site.
He is now a dog photographer and trainer in New York. Freedom of speech Pornography features.