The uproar turned Piss Christ into one of the key fronts in the culture wars of the s and s, alongside the work of Serrano’s fellow NEA recipient Robert Mapplethorpe, and divided a nation over the question of whether the government had the right to censor art.
Watch video · It's a story of anger and loathing that cannot be understood without mention of an artist named “Mapplethorpe” and a piece of art called “Piss Christ.".
In mid, there was an uproar over the work of another photographer, Andres Serrano, whose "Piss Christ" -- a murky, moody photograph of the crucified Christ submerged in the artist's urine -- had been partially funded by a $15, grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Andres Serrano (born August 15, ) is an American photographer and artist who has become famous through his photos of corpses and his use of feces and bodily fluids in his work, notably his controversial work Piss Christ, a red-tinged photograph of a crucifix submerged in a glass container of what was purported to be the artist's own urine. In , Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano unveiled a photo of a crucifix immersed in Serrano's urine (Raschke ). Entitled Piss Christ, the exhibit generated a flurry of objections from several Christian groups (). Among one of the criticisms of the piece was that it represented "state subversion" of Christians' "fundamental beliefs.
Jul 15, · In , the Corcoran Gallery of Art sensed a crisis in the making. "The Perfect Moment" -- a retrospective of the figure-study, still-life, and sadomasochistic photography of Robert Mapplethorpe.
Andres Serranno’s Piss Christ. In the ’s the NEA was attacked by North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who in , launched a Senate filibuster against making the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. He singled out Mapplethorpe and Serrano as the most obscene of . Piss Christ – a photograph that has attracted controversy for more than two decades – has gone on display in New York, at an exhibition which surveys 25 years of the artist Andres Serrano's work.
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The Serrano-Mapplethorpe Controversy The storm broke on the Senate floor on May 18, as Senator Alfonse D'Amato rose to denounce Andres Serrano's photograph Piss Christ as trash. "This so-called piece of art is a deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity," he said. Sep 25, · This Thursday marks the debut of Andres Serrano's latest show, "Body and Spirit" at Edward Tyler Nahem gallery in New York. On view will be "Piss Christ.