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    Elton Photo Seized in Kiddie-Porn Probe

    Elton John has become an unwitting participant in a British child-pornorgraphy investigation.

    An art photograph owned by the Rocket Man that features two naked young girl was seized Thursday from a British art gallery.

    Police in Northumbria, in northeastern England, were called to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead after fielding a complaint from the gallery's management.

    "We attended the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead last Thursday at the invitation of the management, who were seeking advice about an item for an exhibition prior to it going on public display," a police spokesperson told the Times of London. "This item is being assessed, and Northumbria Police, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding it."

    In a statement on his official Website, the 60-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer confirmed that he had purchased the picture in 1999 from the White Cube gallery in London. Titled Klara and Edda Belly-Dancing, the image is one of 149 images comprising the Thanksgiving installation of acclaimed American photographer Nan Goldin.

    "The photograph exists as part of the installation as a whole and has been widely published and exhibited throughout the world," the singer said in defense of the artist.

    "It can be found in the monograph of Ms. Goldin's works entitled The Devil's Playground and has been offered for sale at Sotheby's New York in 2002 and 2004 and has previously been exhibited in Houston, London, Madrid, New York, Portugal, Warsaw and Zurich without any objections of which we are aware."

    John is an avid collector of photographic art and also owns works by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Man Ray and Ansel Adams. He has long been a fan of Goldin, 54, and loaned out the installation for the current exhibition.

    However the Baltic's curators' uneasiness about the image's explicit nature prompted them not to take any chances.

    Officers called to the gallery confiscated the image to determine whether it violates Britain's 1978 Protection of Children Act.

    Neither Goldin nor the gallery has commented on the seizure.

    This isn't the first time a Goldin exhibit has stirred controversy. In 2000, French authorities probed an exhibition in Bordeaux titled Presumed Innocent that explored the "ambiguities of childhood" and featured works alluding to child sexuality by Goldin and such other notable photographers as Cindy Sherman, Marlene Dumas and Christian Boltanski.

    In March 2001, London police investigated indecency complaints about another of Goldin's pictures exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, but no charges were ever filed.

    Meanwhile, John continues to tour in support of his latest studio album, 2006's The Captain & the Kid.

    The music legend kicks off the latest leg of a U.S. jaunt Friday night in Missoula, Montana; the tour includes a 13-night stand at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in October. After that, John jets off to Japan for two dates in Tokyo, before performing shows in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

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