Saturday, November 19, 2016
Andres Serrano, Controversial Artist
Andres Serrano, aka: Andrés (born: , New York City) is a controversial American photographer whose Piss Christ (1987), an image of a crucifix submerged in , resulted in a storm of controversy and was a central element in the so-called culture-wars of the late 1980s and 1990s. The piece and others of a similar confrontational nature caused a reexamination in the of funding for the arts.
Serrano studied , notably , at the Brooklyn Museum in 1967–69 and later acknowledged that in the 1970s he was a drug dealer and addict in . He returned to photography in the early 1980s, presenting large-scale color images concentrating on dramatic and provocative figural compositions. The intensity of these images evoked for the artist the images of Christ’s Passion that he had observed growing up in a Hispanic, Roman Catholic home. An interest in bodily fluids (blood, urine, , semen) sometimes in isolation (Milk, , 1986), sometimes combined with cruciform shapes or reproductions of statuary (Blood Cross, 1985), led the artist to create his infamous Piss Christ. This image was exhibited at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1988, as part of that institution’s Awards in the Visual Arts series, funded in part by the (NEA). Many viewers found the image profane and irreverent and further objected to the support of the NEA, which itself was funded by taxpayers. The public debate engendered by this and other provocative artworks caused Congress to restrict grants to individual visual artists and to cut the NEA’s funding by two-fifths.
Andres Serrano Exibition
In later series studies, Serrano employed traditional portraiture strategies to photograph members of the (Klansmen, 1990) and homeless New Yorkers (Nomads, 1990).
His series (1992), which is believed to have been photographed in Paris, studied the heads and bodies of corpses. His other series examine such subjects as , Catholic lay workers, guns, and human sexuality.
Warning: The art of Andres Serrano is graphic and highly controversial.
Ku Klux Klan