Friday, April 28, 2017

Sally Mann: Immediate Family

Sally Mann is known as one of the most influential women in photography. She has been given many awards, such as from the NEH and the NEA. In addition, on sallymann.com it states that, “In 2001 Mann was named “America’s Best Photographer” by Time magazine.” Moreover, Mann reports that she picked up photography from her father, and that her father would also photograph her in the backwoods of their Virginia home, also often time nude. Mann became engaged in photographing her children when, her young daughter’s eye was stung by a bee, then when looking at her daughter Mann realized how beautiful her daughter was the potential beauty she can captivate through photographs of her children. Mann began to photograph her children, most of the time in the nude as well. Although Mann’s photographs of her children have been praised for such beauty and grace, they have also been scrutinized. Many have attacked Mann and her photos and have described them as pornographic. In my opinion, some photos of her children are truly mesmerizing, but for others I can see why others would become uncomfortable of seeing the children naked in such public spaces and in such organized poses. Such as this picture.
I showed this picture to a friend and his first reaction was that it was pornographic. He probably didn’t know that, the older person in the photo is the father of the little girl and not just a random man. But, also my friend said that the positioning of the photo made the little girls vagina very exposed. Also, since Mann’s photos of her children were not just a one-time photoshoot but a constant theme in lots of setting, this makes people uncomfortable as well. I definitely see beauty in Sally Mann’s photographs, but I can also understand peoples concern.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Andres Serrano "Piss Christ"

Serrano's painting can have a lot of different perspectives and a lot of meaning. Artist have had a lot of backlash for being open and having expression of freedom. I believe that Serrano was simply expressing the way Christ is seen through his eyes. It could mean that Christ has dealt with people's sin and has blood on his hands to be a savior. The piss can add a glow to which glorifies his figure. It might not be taken lightly in the Christian community because it can be seen as disrespectful. I look at the image and I imagine that Serrano is trying to convey that people only like/go for the beautiful parts of objects or even people, individuals do not take the time to acknowledge people's backgrounds or what they truly are, everything is based on atheistic, how people choose to present themselves. Personally, I enjoyed this art piece. Art is supposed to make you feel something, it might be a good feeling but that is what true art is, being able to express and make people feel.

"Piss Christ" or "Immersion" by Andres Serrano

Without the name, the painting looks, well, harmless. What I want to talk about in this post is how all art is consumed with "paratext" or outside text besides the art itself. What made this particular piece of artwork so controversial was the name "Piss Christ" which then causes the viewer to look at the painting again and what was once a holy glow is now urine. We all consume artwork with the information we are given and I believe that if someone of the Christian faith was shown that painting with no context and no title, then they would not find it offensive at all.

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.

It's Not about the Art in the Folk, It's about the Folks in the Art

The article in Our Lady of Controversy titled "It's Not about the Art in the Folk, It's about the Folks in the Art", curator of Cyber Arte Tey Marianna Nunn recollects the detail of the controversy that was sparked by Alma Lopez's Our Lady, which was a reimagining of the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe. The article begins with the background of the curator, who was notably a part of a research report called Willful Neglect: The Smithsonian and U.S. Latinos, which revealed much of Nunn's pedagogy of taking on the lack of representation of Latinos in the the art community, doing the work of representing interests ("addressing and collapsing stereotypes regarding Latinos and Latino art"), experiences, culture, and identity. The article accounts for the voices unheard, having been drowned out by harmful media rhetoric that ignored the context of the art, the artists, and the exhibit. A quote I would like to highlight for the post is "He [Michael Sheehan] later labeled Raquel Salinas, a rape survivor and the model for Our Lady, a "tart" and a "prostitute"". This quote stuck with me. With archbishop's comments in regards to the art, he single handily disregards the artist and the model. This comes from a disregard for context of the art, focusing on the sensationalization of the protest, instead of offering up a discussion in regards to the issue. Our Lady is a reimagining of the image of La Virgen, a reimagining that has a long history, a reimagine necessary to reflect identity, culture, and lived experiences, to deconstruct the patriarchal connotations that the image may contain. Obviously, as well, Our Lady is not representing a "tart" or "prostitute". Even if it was, that gets to the archbishops dangerous conceptualization of women revealing parts of their bodies (the model in Our Lady is not "naked", and if anything, is quite modest). The comment says more about what notions the archbishop has about woman's bodies.

"Immersion" aka "Piss Christ"

"Piss Christ" is a photograph by artist Andres Serrano that sparked controversy due to the funding granted by the NEA (the backlash of the piece then sparked conversations in the culture war that discussed getting rid of the NEA). This leads me to question: What is the agenda of the NEA? Funding works in interesting ways, take for example, scientific funding (which, as a person in the humanities, has a limited knowledge on, but I digress). Some medical research for example, is funded my pharmaceuticals, which has a goal of getting a product, in this case drugs, to consumers. Some medical research is tied to corporations like Google, like 23andMe, which is a company that runs on a direct-to-consumer model of genomics and DNA testing. 23andMe is marketed as a novelty and as a way for consumers to have access to information to their health (it searches to see if you may have predispositions towards any diseases). But, when you spit into the vial and send your genetic makeup to the labs, they may have access to a lot more information than you bargained for (like...your family that did not consent to this invasion of privacy). And although illegal, this could effect access to health insurance ("privacy" is their main priority, but I would be skeptical of that). These direct to consumer companies are less medical and more market driven. Funding then, creates how the research operates, what is looked at, how its look at, it basically creates a lens. To get away from the funding of these projects, the NEA is federally funded. A very small portion of tax dollars goes to the NEA, and it does a lot more work than producing the controversial work such as "Piss Christ". The NEA can not be driven by a corporate agenda, this hinders the creative process of what this funding is for. A lens is not what these artists should be working under. The lens comes from the artists, the children and communities it is assisting. "Piss Christ" by Serrano, is a beautiful piece. It plays with iconography important to the artist, playing with fluids and light. The fluid in this piece being urine, which is what comes off as offensive, and probably the use of the blunt and crass word "piss". But, this piece can't be disconnected to the context of the piece: this is a piece from a blunt artist playing with religious iconography that he was associated to, and has meaning to. While yes, it has connections to others as well, context is important to understand. I try not to focus on intent, as it produces intentional fallacy. But context, for me, is not intent. The art evokes a meaning from the audience, whether that be a negative or positive response, its a piece open to interpretation, but context should be accounted for. You don't have to like it, you can think its disrespectful, but to argue that the NEA should be discontinued because of a piece like this has consequences beyond stopping images some deem unacceptable. What I am curious to discuss in class in aspects to free speech is the images that are violent towards a group of people, and offensive. How then, is that "free speech" that does harm to others and creates dangerous discourses, accounted for. Attached below is an image of "Piss Christ" that had been partially destroyed.

Extra Post: Keeping up and the "Virgin of Naboo"

A day does not go by without a Kardashian or Jenner in the news. And this time, its in relation to Kim Kardashian selling votives with her face on it with the image of the Virgin Mary (not the Virgen de Guadalupe). The website mitú posted the article, which I have screen capped below. What I feel like the problem here is the selling of religious prayer candles divorced from the reason of what these candles are and what they mean to people. This is a commodification of religious objects and a religious image. While the mitú article highlights the people who found the candle disrespectful, it is noted that some actually enjoyed the idea of object being sold (which, at 18$, is way above the price of a votive you can purchase anywhere else, just to note). 

                          



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:

"The Avocado Guy"

 


JesseJFR, has established himself as “The Avocado Guy” at various art walks and conventions across Southern California with his reimaginations of various childhood characters and interests. Scheduled appearances are updated in the social feed along with progress on new pieces. 

Not only do I have a pin of R2D2 evoking the image of Guadalupe (the art is titled "Virgin of Naboo, I also have a votive with the image (my friends have purchased me votives as objects to help me study, despite my lack of spirituality, but I admit, the "Virgin of Naboo" was my own purchase).  I saw this purchase as a playful artwork that supported a local artist. And from the about me, I think this piece is a re-imagination of a childhood character in relation to a part of the artists culture. My purchase reflected my adoration of Star Wars and the image of La Virgen that I grew up with at my nana's. For me, its an object of pop culture. 





Monday, April 24, 2017

Andres Serrano

Andres Serrano has succeeded in making his artwork touch the nation Whether through the right means on the right premise is up for debate, but what is done is done. Serrano's Piss Christ has reached the eyes of many households and hearts that would probably never have come across the work if the title and the artwork weren't as controversial as they are. Looking at the essence of the opposition objectively, one sees a predominant uproar of religious objections. The religious connotation of Christ's crucifix that is submerged in pee, milk, and blood is the main reason of contempt. As seen with Alma Lopez's work, the artist's manipulation/interpretation of the religious symbols they grew up with is seen as an extreme form of disrespect and blasphemy. Contrary to what the name implies (at least to me), the artist claims the piece wasn't meant to deface the religious symbol or be disrespectful to Christ; it wasn't meant to be seen as a negatively submerging of urine into a jar of some sort. Rather, the artist says he used urine as purely an artful means to achieve the color he thought would be prime for the photo. Whether his intentions were to disrespect or not, motions to defund and take down the piece and artist himself on federal grounds fall on religious premises. In a nation where the separation of church and state is supposed to be clear cut and deeply engrained in our federal policies and approaches, it would seem hypocritical if the opposition of the work succeeded in taking down the piece and defunding the art and artist based on religious disrespect. There's be no clear separation of church and state as a separation calls for a lack of religious voice in government.

Personally, I just don't understand the artist's true intentions. He claims the piece isn't supposed to be looked at as merely a submersion of Christ in urine since the piece is more than that, but the piece is solely called Piss Christ. Andres Serrano himself said that the titles of his work were important to the art's interpretation, so was the piece really meant to be seen as more than Christ submerged in piss?

Andres Serrano: Piss Christ/Immersion

Andres Serrano’s work Piss Christ also known as Immersion caused a lot of controversy. When looking at the work without knowing its title and its materials, one can see how its qualities are actually quite beautiful. The colors of the work merge together forming a sunset like imagery. He creates a warm tone, that almost looks like a fire. With no prior knowledge of how this work was made, or what it is called, one can assume that this is a work that is venerating Jesus on the cross- through the tough fire, but with an inviting sunset. Nevertheless, once the materials and title come into play, people’s reaction changes. The fact that Serrano used urine in order to create the hint of a yellow and golden tone, upset many people. People were outraged, and might still be outraged, because someone literally put pee on Jesus on the cross. Serrano did not mean for this work to be offensive, and just like in Alma Lopez’s cases, people did not care whether or not he meant it to be offensive, since they were still going to be offended and mad.


Sister Wendy brings up an interesting point of view on what Serrano’s work means. She believes that people “piss” on God, by disrespecting Him and everything He stands for. Yet, ironically these same people are offended when they see a work that depicts such thing. As a nun, Sister Wendy may be expected to have a more conservative perspective, but she is understanding of Serrano’s work even if she does not want to see it again. She does not just criticize the work, but instead finds a meaning behind it.

Andres Serrano


The “Piss Christ” photograph by Andres Serrano is very bizarre. At first glance, the photograph was beautiful to me. However, the name of the piece and the reason as to why Serrano came up with the idea is a bit unusual to me. He briefly mentions how the titles of his works are very simple and self-descriptive and I feel like this is what heightens the controversy surrounding the making of his work. I understand that Serrano maybe meant no harm by utilizing urine, blood, and other bodily fluids. To him, it was probably more of an innovation that would help create the image that he wanted to capture. However, when substances are included in titles, it is very instinctive to question the meaning of the entire piece and the intentions of the artist. It is as though Serrano wanted to create the controversy for whatever reason that may be. I understand that the colors in the image worked out nicely, but I have a difficult time understanding the names given to these pieces and the lack of other means. Serrano is entitled to his pieces and he has a right to create them and name them, but they are simply not the kind of pieces that I enjoy.

Andres Serrano

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.

Andres Serrano "Piss Christ"

Andres Serrano it's an Artist characterized by his used of fluids to make controversial and meaningful art pieces. One his most infamous/famous pieces was Piss Christ in which he used his own urine and a crucifix to make it. He exhibit this piece internationally and was banned and even vandalized in some places, like in France. As presented in class people had many thoughts and opinion to his arts. One of them was sister Wendy from Great Britain. I thought she had a very amazing response to the art. I, like her, think that this is more than just trying to be "blasphemous" or caused controversy in any type of Church. As a matter if fact, Andres considers himself a Christian, so I do think that perhaps his arts goes beyond him trying to insult the church. Perhaps he wanted to show the world that something so simple from the human body could still be put in such a context that could make a great and beautiful picture. Also, like sister Wendy said, his art could be a reflection of how people have also put religion last, and literally have thrown Jesus into piss. In whatever scope or with whatever lens we see his art, we ought to remember art it's subjective. Even though it is important to know what the artist was thinking when he made the piece the interpret and translator if that message it's us, and most times the way we take art it is not on the artist but on ourselves.

"Piss Christ": Patrolling the Body and its Fluids

In 1987, Andres Serrano put his private bodily fluid on display, submerging a holy crucifix in urine. His work "Piss Christ" confronts a private world of belief and conviction, making that which is assumed public and visceral. Serrano, in surrounding Christ in a vat of precious liquid excrement, demonstrates that Christ exists in everything - from the profane to the sacred, from popular art to high art. Christ and his miracles remain beautiful even when immersed in liquid deemed valueless throughout popular culture. However, the squeamish connotations seemingly inherent in Serrano’s vile substance has been constructed socially as grotesque.


Practitioners of witchcraft, tribalism and/or paganism note the vitality and symbolic importance of blood and urine. These mysterious traditions save their sacred fluids and protect them from black magic’s manipulations and psychic attacks. David Bowie, in a coked-out recording frenzy in the mid '70s, claimed that he was under psychic attack and subsequently jarred his urine so that other magicians could not use it to curse him spiritually.

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.

Andres Serrano: "Piss Christ"

As we progress more and more into this class we touch upon the controversial topics and concepts in art. One of the main controversies in the world is religion. Depending on how you demonstrate a holy figure in your own way, it can raise questions and generate opinions that are strongly against your work of art. Andres Serrano is an extraordinary artist that worked with urine and blood. He then used the sculpted image of Jesus Christ, placed it in a tank and filled it with urine and blood. This created his famous, yet controversial work titled “Piss Christ”.

Filled in a tank with piss and blood, I can see the controversy that arises from these images. Since it is my religion I understand the point of view of the people who are offended. On the other hand, I can also comprehend the perspective from the other side of those who find it amazing. There is much contradiction within myself to take a side of supporting it or being offended by it. I do agree with the artistic point of view of Andres Serrano with its metaphoric ways in what he was trying to say. From a religious side, that part of me disagrees with it because of how it is treated and represented. Artistically, it does have a good representation. It does have a lot of symbolism about what happened during his life. He gave his life for us with his blood. At the same time, there were those that were against him and were represented through piss.

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.

Andres Serrano's Piss Christ

Andres Serrano's Piss Christ is an interesting piece of artwork. The best art is the one that causes controversy. I don't believe he meant anything offensive by his work. The piece is beautiful and definitely grabs your attention when looking at it. If it wasn't in the name, I don't think I would have realized that the cross was submerged in "piss" and he stated. The controversy that he caused with his work made him a known artist and, as stated before, controversy is what causes artists to gain fame. While to some it may seem wrong to do such a thing to a religious artifact, to others, it is simply art. He does associate himself with Christianity which is why I believe it is appropriate for him to have created this piece of work. While I do not know if his intentions for the piece was for it to have a meaning toward people, it definitely caused a reaction among crowds. In the clip that we watched about the nun, she interpreted it as what "we" did to Christ. If his artwork incites emotions in people, then I believe it is good artwork. I hope to look further into his artwork and explore what else he has to offer.

On the work of Andres Serrano

            Many people have found Andres Serrano's work to be offensive because it makes use of bodily fluids such as blood, milk and urine in works depicting religious figures such as Mary and Jesus. There are two points that I would like to address in regards to this; firstly, the fact that people are provoked does not mean this art should not be shown and secondly, I question why people do find this artwork offensive. 
           True artistic innovation comes only when pure creative freedom is granted and when artists are allowed to share their most organic ideas with the world around them. Good art is produced in the testing of boundaries, whether the subject is otherworldly or mundane. If artists feel pressured into repressing their creativity, in whatever form that may take, society at large has lost out. Further, when art is censored in america, the free speech of all Americans is challenged. Therefore, whether anyone finds Serrano's work offensive or not should not lead to the censorship of his art. 
         Further, I think there are many reasons why Serrano's work could be seen as inoffensive even from a Christian perspective. To start, if the body is made by God and God designed humans with no mistakes, then I do not see how bodily fluids such as blood, milk and even urine can be seen as offensive. Similar to the artwork, "Our Lady" arguments against these works seem to state that the body and parts of the human body are dirty or sacrilegious. However, in the view that God did not make mistakes in his creations, this does not make sense and instead seems to stem from modern day cultural norms. Further, bodily fluids are somewhat central to Christianity as the blood of Christ is referenced constantly and even symbolically consumed in the form of wine in Catholic churches. While Leviticus 15 does mention that fluids excreted from the body are unclean when in contact with a person or surface, this appears to me to be more about general hygiene than of symbolic significance. At the end of the day, it seems to me that Serrano is simply using aspects of the so-called God-made body and symbolic fluids that have already been used in Christianity in his artwork. 

Andres Serrano

There are couple things that come to my mind when I think about Serrano's work. How this idea came to his mind? why he had to use these elements to create special colors? why not using any other artificial sustains to create colors? I feel very confused about his work. I see this artwork very controversial. Using piss and blood to created art but also at the same time use religion symbols does not sound right for me.The religion symbols for some people are meaningful and sacred which made his work more controversial. I could be agreeing with his work if the colors he used were other types of sustains. I totally respect his work because each of us deserves it but sincerely I don't agree with it.

Sangre y Leche

What exactly does the painting signify? It is actually not a painting, instead it's a photograph that is made to appear as a painting. Andres Serrano's "Blood and Milk" was very controversial, without a description, one must think that the painting is not as complex. Instead it may seem like two colors that meet in the middle where they begin to bleed into a darker tone. How could is this controversial? The mixture of blood and milk contradicts what is said in the Exodus, where one was forbidden from consuming blood. This is often referred to how the Jewish maintain kosher, but not mixing meat and dairy. I work for a non-profit Jewish student organization and have learned through my Jewish colleagues that they cannot eat dairy and meat (symbolizing blood) at the same time. At first, I found it rather odd and they explained how it is not considered kosher. It is instead considered to be dishonorable to consume both at the same time, that is why they must remain consumed separately. Blood and milk symbolize life and it has gone through a cycle of infractions.

I found it fascinating how Andres was able to incorporate Judaism through his art work, without making it too obvious.



Censorship and fear

For this week’s blog I wanted to talk about some of the very first chapters of Censoring Culture by Atkins and Mintcheva. The first chapters discuss how the economy and politics are interwoven and serve to censor us in many ways we are not always aware of. One aspect I found really interesting is how flexible the idea of censorship is. For example, the beginning of Censoring Culture discusses the ways that cigarette companies and the tobacco industry have gone to court to fight for their right to free speech, while also making their employees sign contracts legally binding them from speaking about the ingredients in cigarettes. In this sense, it made me feel that the right to free speech has become abused and exploited by those who are loudest, and that one day they are protesting something they wrote into a contract for their own employees. The degree to which all of our institutional systems are linked also attests to how far censorship can go with the right connections.
Another part I found very interesting is the section that discusses how rap made making music more accessible, and that it was difficult to decide how sampling in rap would be settled in court. These examples especially in legal terms demonstrated to me how much censorship functions through fear, whether that be fear of legal repercussions, fear of political retaliation, or fear of judgment.

Andres Serrano

Andres Serrano's work Piss Christ is a photograph of a crucifix submersed in an aquarium in a semi translucent mixture of milk, blood, and urine. This work was considered controversial once the public learned the substances used in the capturing of the photograph.

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.

"Piss Christ" or "Immersion" by Andres Serrano




"Freedom of religion and freedom of expression have something in common: they both have the power to polarize people"
- Andres Serrano

At a first glance,  Immersion or "Piss Christ" by photographer Andes Serrano presents a dark red and yellow image of what appears to be a crucifix of Jesus Christ.  However, what stirs things up is the content of what is actually being photographed. The crucifix in the photograph is actually submerged in the urine of Serrano. The image was part of a series that Serrano made in which he submerged religious objects in liquids like milk and blood. According to The Guardian, in 1989, rightwing Christian senators' criticism of Piss Christ led to a heated US debate on public arts funding. Serrano guarded his photograph as a critique 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.


It is apparent that many Christian folks found Serrano's very offensive to their religion. It brought to question the funding of the NEA and put into question people's freedoms of expression and religion. In my personal opinion, regardless of how the image was made, I think it's aesthetically beautiful. I love the noir lighting and how the rich the red is in contrast to the yellow tones of the crucifix. It was a bit discomforting to know that the artist used urine and possibly blood to create the image, but the result is pretty stunning. I know if my mom or dad knew the contents of the image, that they would probably be pretty upset. Nonetheless, I do believe in the freedom of expression and we all have different relationships with religious objects and beings. However, it does bring into question: When do artists take things "too" far? Does that boundary even exist? Can some of these images be an appropriation of others' cultures? When does freedom of expression and religion begin to harm other communities that don't adhere to those beliefs?