LONDON (AFP) — British rock veteran Elton John on Wednesday defended a photograph he owns after police seized it from an exhibition to investigate a possible breach of child pornography laws.
The picture, "Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing," was seized last week, on the eve of an exhibition of works from John's private collection at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, northeast England.
John said the picture by US photographer Nan Goldin, depicting two naked girls, had been widely shown in other countries. It was one of 149 pictures he owns on display at the Thanksgiving exhibition.
"The photograph exists as part of the installation as a whole and has been widely published and exhibited throughout the world," said a statement on the British musician's website.
It noted that the photo was auctioned by Sotheby's in 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.
John "is known as 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," it added.
Northumbria Police confirmed that the picture was being assessed.
"We attended the Baltic last Thursday at the invitation of management who were seeking advice about an item from an exhibition prior to it going on public display," said a spokesman.
"This item is being assessed and Northumbria Police in consultation with (prosecutors) is investigating the circumstances surrounding it."
A spokeswoman for the Baltic art centre said: "We are working alongside the police and are not in a position to comment further."
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