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Art Anecdotes : Andres Serrano’s Blasphemous Art

Through ART ANECDOTES, Art From Us brings you funny, heart-warming and sometimes heartbreaking stories that shape Artists and their work. Today we look at the story of “Andres Serrano’s Blasphemous Art”.

Art From Us and Divvya Nirula bring to you a curated collection of Art related events, from suspected murder, to love affairs, to grand theft and curious cases of creation through ART ANECDOTES. Join us on this fun-filled ride of exploring and reliving these art-tales.

Andres Serrano’s artworks were never for the faint-hearted. In fact, the American photographer is notorious for uncensored representations of the human condition. Gender, sexuality, bodily fluids and violence. These are just a few themes Serrano addresses through his art. And it makes people very uncomfortable. Indeed, there is one work of his in particular that caused more controversy than any other.

Blasphemous Art : Piss Christ (1987)

The work was labelled ‘blasphemous art’ as soon as it was shown to the public. Moreover, the outrage that followed made it the most controversial work of the 20th century. So what is this piece? Piss Christ (1987) is a photographic work of a plastic crucifix submerged in Serrano’s urine. The work was seen as upsetting to all. Art lovers, religious groups, people funding the arts. Most people thought Serrano had gone too far this time.

The Most Controversial Artwork of the 20th Century

The work had been partly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, thus making it a publicly funded piece. Therefore, the scandal eventually launched into a congressional. People began questioning why American taxpayers were being made to fund such blasphemous art. When the piece was shown in Manhattan, protesters gathered outside the gallery. Everywhere the work was displayed, it attracted some negative attention. Finally, in 2011, the artwork was destroyed while exhibited at a French gallery.

In His Defense

Serrano maintains that he never meant for the work to offend. It was simply his medium to critique the “billion-dollar Christ-for-profit industry”. Furthermore, intended to draw the viewer’s attention back to Christ. To the fact that when he was crucified, he felt immense bodily pain.

“And for Christ to have been crucified and laid on the cross for three days where he not only bled to death, he shat himself and he peed himself to death. ”

– Andres Serrano

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