Trials: Pictures in An Exhibition

Pictures in An Exhibition

It looked as if the prosecutors had everything in their favor: a law-and-order judge, a seemingly conservative jury and seven pieces of evidence that could not fail to shock and disgust. The defendants had only one thing on their side: the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But the verdict last week cleared Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, of obscenity charges stemming from their exhibition of photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe.

The case centered on seven of 175 photographs that went on display last April. Five showed men in sadomasochistic poses; two depicted children with genitals...

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