Friday, April 28, 2017
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
It's hard for us to separate art and all the paratext that surrounds it. Furthermore, it's worth noting that maybe we shouldn't? I believe that all artwork comes in a package, alongside the artist that created it, the time period they created it in, the political situation it was created in etc. There is so much of the outside world that informs the art and puts it in context, and one could argue, is actually part of the artwork itself.
The title was intentional. It is part of the artwork and it was created to provoke people, or at the very least to make a statement (which again, doesn't all art make some sort of statement?). I don't know if it was truly intended to offended, I don't think it was, but it was definitely meant to disarm the consumer of the art and make them think twice. After all, the best art tends to make you think about it for a while. It's important to note that Andres identifies as Christian and that should also be considered when talking about the artwork, it's part of the paratext, so I don't think that he would purposefully try to mock his own religion but maybe point out some problems with the institutions behind his religion? You can have religious beliefs and still question the institutions that are a part of those said beliefs.
But, I might admit, I have purchased a pin (pictured below), from an artist at a craft fair, that made me question somethings, especially in regards to conversations in the class. This object came from an artist that named Jesse JFR, an artist who's About Me states:
Monday, April 24, 2017
The first thing that came to mind when I learned of Andres Serrano's Piss Christ was a piece done by Chris Burden in 1974 titled Trans-Fixed.
For those not familiar with Burden, he was an American artist working in performance, sculpture, and installation art. In Trans-Fixed specifically, Burden said the following of his performance:
Inside a small garage on Speedway Avenue, I stood on the rear bumper of a Volkswagen. I lay on my back over the rear section of the car, stretching my arms onto the roof. Nails are driven through my palms onto the roof of the car. The garage door was opened and the car was pushed half way out into the speedway. Screaming for me the engine was run at full speed for two minutes. After two minutes, the engine was turned off and the car pushed back into the garage. The door was closed.
Though Serrano and Burden do not necessarily share the same artistic style, I wanted to provide Burden's piece as a source of comparison. More specifically, to talk about the religious elements both pieces serve.
Serrano, making use of unique liquids for his art, was heavily scrutinized when he opted to add a new liquid into his palette. Using only milk and blood before, he began to make use of his own urine which eventually cultivated his piece, Piss Christ. While many find it odd to make use of urine for art, things grew more controversial when Serrano photographed a crucifix submerged in urine.
In class, peers expressed that if they did not know the artist made use of urine, they would have somewhat indifferent reactions. Knowing what materials were used, however, sparked mixed emotions (just as it did within the general public). For many, putting a crucifix in urine was disrespectful, but others were able to find meaning in the work; it was a representation of what people had done to Christ. After everything he did for us on the cross, we still manage to "piss," on him.
If Serrano's piece got this response, why didn't Burden's? Burden imitated Christ by nailing himself to a car, and no one really thought twice about it. Though I personally do not believe what Serrano and Burden showcased was appropriate, I do understand multiple viewpoints. Nailing himself to a car just as Christ did could be seen as a sign of respect by Burden, but also vice versa.
Without a doubt, both pieces are worthy of the attention they have received. They are different and therefore thought-provoking to many. Mixing religion into any piece of art, or idea for that matter, can be hard to navigate as all will have a different opinion on whether or not it is appropriate.
When Serrano surrounds Christ with his urine, he is critiquing the Westernized perception that bodily fluids do not carry any spiritual meaning or value. “Christ,” as a numinous life force and kinetic energy, exists in blood and urine and all facets of the human body. Those in favor of censoring and demonizing Serrano’s work due to his choice of medium directly participate in the degradation of the human body and the creative utilization of bodily fluids, while further marginalizing human discharge and constricting natural processes to the private sphere.
There is a religious point of view and there is an artistic point of view. Both present good reasons of support towards each point. Through these conclusions, my inner self is split into two perspectives that will constantly clash with each other.
I found it fascinating how Andres was able to incorporate Judaism through his art work, without making it too obvious.
While many pieces of art are judged for what they are as a work, in this case especially it is important to consider the intention and the process. The work is not meant to be sacrilegious nor offend in any manner. A lot of the criticism around the work originates from the belief that Serrano defiled a crucifix to make this photograph and received tax payer funding. The critiques for the creation of the work break down first when analyzing how the work was made. The crucifix was not thrown into a "jar" and filled with fluids but rather it was respectfully placed in an aquarium. The mixture of the liquids used to create the translucent have a distinct balance which makes the photograph possible. There is never an intent to offend and rom the final image one would hardly be able to what the crucifix is submerged in. It is clear that the objective was not to just drown the crucifix with urine. Any critiques towards the funding he received must remember that there is a separation of church and state and he received funding to create a piece of art which he did. A case can be made for the existence of censorship but in this case, Serrano's Piss Christ is valid work that can be interpreted in many ways, such as Sister Becket has done, and has not been created to offend in the process nor presentation of the piece.