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Cops ban artist for 'lewd' drawings

In the 1960s, police busted a gallery owner for an installation of nudes. More recently, when an artist filmed a cat being killed and eaten, the artist was locked up. Even if the country's definition of obscenity has transformed over time, for decades the debate has stayed the same: Is art censorship an act thwarting obscenity or an Orwellian control?

 Robert Markle says he has every intention to arouse emotions with his art. One of his drawings depicts two nude women touching each other. But he says the depiction is sensuous, rather than sexual. Conversely, an Ontario court magistrate says the drawings are lewd and obscene. Markle's nudes make up the majority of works confiscated from Dorothy Cameron's Eros '65 gallery exhibition last year by the Toronto police morality squad.

Cameron is still before the courts facing obscenity charges and since the May 1965 bust she has had to close her Yonge Street gallery. [Audio only]

 • Before police confiscated Markle's work from Dorothy Cameron's gallery, Eros '65 received excellent reviews.
• Historian and journalist Pierre Berton said at the time that the installation marked a coming of age for Toronto.
• Markle also taught as a professor at The New School of Art, an alternative Toronto educational institution created in 1965.

• The school's founders opened the school in reaction to the Ontario College of Art's theoretical and "boring" classes. The New School had no entrance requirements and there were no grades, attendance records or diplomas.
• Robert Markle, a Native Canadian artist, was born in Hamilton in 1936 and died in Holstein, Ont. in 1990.
Medium: Television
Program: This Hour has Seven Days
Broadcast Date: Feb. 6, 1966
Guest(s): Robert Markle
Host: Laurier LaPierre
Reporter: Patrick Watson
Duration: 3:00
This is the audio of a TV report for which video is unavailable.

Last updated: April 4, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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