The London Arts Gallery came to the notice of an international public when in 1970, its owner Eugene Schuster was charged with corrupting morals when he exhibited erotic artwork by John Lennon of himself and his wife Yoko Ono in various stages of lovemaking.
"It appears they seized the art mainly because John Lennon did it.”
A London Arts Gallery press release from the time commented:
“Lennon’s sex life in the medium of lithography is a poignant comment on a modern society. In the last year Lennon has repeatedly attempted to identify himself as an artist beyond Pop music. It has brought ridicule on him and his efforts have been scorned.”
“The history of lithography has seen a change of emphasis from content to technique and Lennon has taken advantage of this movement to expose a society by exposing his own private life to encourage a more introspective commitment to content by today’s artists who can be so timid. In a society where movement and social change play such an important part, the artist’s need to experiment is not new. Warhol and Rauschenberg have created a pattern. John Lennon is developing this tradition and although he may not be making many friends, he has committed himself to a particular cultural leadership which has always been the position of the artist.”
The gallery owner Eugene Schuster, an American citizen was tried in the Queen’s Marlborough Street Court. Witnesses were called on both sides. At one point prints by Pablo Picasso were brought before the court for comparison. A few observers noted that erotic works by Rembrandt and Fragonard are in on display in many high profile collections including those of H.R.H. The Queen.
The charge of obscenity was changed to disturbing the pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. The Prosecution shifted focused from artistic freedom to the regulations of the street and storefront.
Following a three day court trial, the case was dismissed and the artwork returned.
The critics and public remained divided on both the subject of obscenity in art and the artistic merit of John Lennon’s lithographs.
Ultimately, the gallery owner was cleared of all charges.
The Metropolitan Police later said that the gallery could reopen the exhibition of the remaining lithographs “If it wished to do so.”
The prints returned to the gallery where a second exhibit was greeted with even more public enthusiasm.
A few weeks later the first U.S. exhibition was held at London Arts Gallery, Detroit, Michigan amidst scrutiny and much anticipation.
The London Arts Group incorporates many fields of artistic activity. Dealers in the paintings and sculpture of internationally known artists, the London Arts Group is also one of the largest distributors of original prints in the world, their prints ranging from 15th-century Old Master examples to selections of 19th and
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