Friday, January 10, 2014

Horrall on "Dorothy Cameron’s 1965 Trial for Exhibiting Obscene Pictures"

Via the Canadian Legal History Blog, we have word of the following article, which appears in the current volume of the Journal of Canadian Art History:
“Adult Viewing Only”: Dorothy Cameron’s 1965 Trial for Exhibiting Obscene Pictures, by Andrew Horrall

Abstract: Toronto’s Dorothy Cameron Gallery was bathed in pink light as about two hundred guests packed its long narrow room on the evening of 20 May 1965 for the opening of Eros 65, an eagerly anticipated exhibition of representational works about love. A romantic atmosphere was created by pink champagne, roses, red candles in white sconces, and heart-shaped stickers marking purchased works. As usual, Cameron’s party attracted Toronto’s beau monde including her sister Anna who was a popular CBC television personality, journalists Pierre Berton, Robert Fulford and June Callwood, and many artists, patrons, and collectors. They bantered happily, unaware that the police would raid the gallery in the morning, charge Cameron with exhibiting obscene pictures and set off a protracted and very public legal battle that has been touched on in memoirs and histories of the era without ever being critically analysed. As a result, its important role in defining the boundaries of acceptability in Canadian art, bringing state censorship powers under scrutiny, and exposing the fragility of women’s social position remains unexplored.