Marcus Harvey, Myra, 1995, Acrylic on canvas

Among the ordure, both literal and figurative, on display at the Royal Academy of Art’s “Sensation” exhibition was an outsize portrait, based on a mugshot, of the child-murderess Myra Hindley. That this image was made up of a child’s tiny handprint (reproduced many times like the dots in a newspaper photograph) magnified the outrage of some of the public, including mothers of those killed by Hindley.

To create is the work of centuries, to destroy, the work of a moment.

The British writer and prison doctor Theodore Dalrymple was quickly on the scene, to ask Norman Rosenthal,...

 

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