Andres Serrano, The Church

Andres Serranos The Church

Catholic Protesters in France Destroy Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ (but the Negative Lives On)

Its not just truck drivers from Montana who destroy art.  Catholic protestors in Avignon, France have taken a hammer and screwdriver (and/or ice pick) to Andres Serranos “Piss Christ,” a photograph of a plastic crucifix floating in a glass of the artists urine. According to Reuters, the vandals physically threatened three museum guards before fleeing. The work was on display at Collection Lambert in Avignon, France in an exhibit called “I Believe in Miracles,”  of works in French art dealer Yvon Lamberts personal collection. It had been displayed for four months without incident. The “anti-blasphemy” violent activisits also destroyed another Serrano photograph of a nun with her hands in her lap called “The Church.”

“Immersion (Piss Christ)” was made in 1987 as part of Serranos series showing religious objects submerged in fluids such as blood and milk. In 1989, the work  led to a heated US debate on public arts funding. According to The Guardian, Serrano defended his photograph as a criticism of the “billion-dollar Christ-for-profit industry” and a “condemnation of those who abuse the teachings of Christ for their own ignoble ends”. It was vandalized in Australia, and neo-Nazis ransacked a Serrano show in Sweden in 2007.

The gallery closed on Saturday after 800 protestors showed up, and closed again Sunday following the incident. They plan to re-open Tuesday and display the damaged work despite alleged death threats.

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