Monday, October 22, 2012

A Shocking Blasphemey

"Piss Christ" is back, and is raising the usual excitement among shallow avant-garde minds.
"Piss Christ" has been resurrected.

Or, at least, the controversy surrounding it has been raised from the dead, now that it is back in New York at the Edwar d Tyler Nahem gallery (through October 26) in an exhibit called "Body and Spirit" which celebrates the life and work of its creator, the artist Andres Serrano, whom we've wsrittern abnour before:Over twenty years ago, in 1989, the hazy image of a crucified Christ, submerged in a jar of Serrano's urine, created a public firestorm when conservative Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (NY) deplored it on the Senate floor as a "despicable display of vulgarity" — one that had, no less, been funded by taxpayers. Serrano was radical, but he wasn't that radical: The so-called avant-garde artist received government support to the tune of $15,000 for the work.
Today, what's astonishing about Piss Christ is not its vulgarity or shock-value; it is a completely mundane work of "art" which has aged as well as a cheap wine spritzer. The only merit it has is as a historical artifact of the culture wars. It is, to use the phrase of TNC art critic James Panero, a boring blasphemy....

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