Obscene and blasphemous libel: Misunderstanding art

Paul Kearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the legal approach to art in the context of English obscenity and blasphemy laws, and related public morality offences. It highlights the cultural independence of art as a special value separate from other facts on which the law operates, and the law's neglect of art's distinctive ontology to the detriment of both art and law. It charts the most recent relevant cases, and suggests reform in the light of contemporary issues affecting the relationship between art and law, as demonstrated, for example, by the ethically controversial Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy (1997) and subsequent provocative artwork. © Sweet & Maxwell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-660
Number of pages8
JournalCriminal Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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