Rude Art

The Guardian reports that visitors to Tate Britain's next show may be surprised, or even offended, to come across a large image of Mary Whitehouse and Rupert Bear depicted in sexual congress in front of the pope. The artist responsible, Gerald Scarfe, is almost as astonished. Three decades after he drew it, the work has been included in Rude Britannia, an exhibition devoted to the British love affair with "naughty" art which opens in a fortnight. "I'm amazed the Tate are showing it, really," he said, explaining that his caricature was drawn more than three decades ago in response to the late moral crusader's attack on the satirical magazine, Oz. "It was because Mrs Whitehouse – or Mrs Righteous as I called her – complained and then went to see the pope. So I did a picture of her being entered by Rupert, who was the mascot of the magazine, being watched by the pope. Underneath it read: 'Mrs Mary Righteous explains her position to the pope.'" Whitehouse sued, Scarfe recalls. "The solicitor's letters were hilarious because of the legal language in which it was all discussed." Tate Britain has decided to celebrate the strain of culture that Whitehouse most decried: British prurience and the comic possibilities that it provides. Rude Britannia includes drawings by the great satirists, Hogarth and Gillray, alongside the work of modern artists such as Sarah Lucas and Grayson Perry, and casts an analytical eye over a wide range of visual jokes, from paintings and sculptures to films, comic books and postcards. For full source and full article click the Headline. Irish Art