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. In , the 60x40in red and yellow photograph of a crucifix plunged into a vat of Serrano's urine ignited a congressional debate on US public arts funding; in France last year, it was physically attacked. In midtown Manhattan on Thursday night, a small group of Catholics opposed to the work gathered outside the Edward Tyler Nahem gallery, where the exhibition opened. Some Christians find the work deeply offensive.
Andres Serrano's controversial Piss Christ goes on view in New York
On Desecration: Andrés Serrano, Piss Christ
A ndres Serrano was a little known photographer in the s, until one controversial image skyrocketed him to fame and became the center of a political feud over public arts funding in America. Other images in the same series showed small statues submerged in blood and milk. When conservative politicians got wind of the fact that the NEA had partially funded the exhibition, they seized upon the opportunity, arguing that federal money for the arts be directed toward less offensive forms of expression. Our team and the Timeline community are scouring archives for the most visually arresting and socially important stories, and using them to explain how we got to now.
Attack on 'blasphemous' art work fires debate on role of religion in France
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Religion has always been a central theme in the history of art. However, when contemporary artists tackle the subject, they always know how to add a touch of provocation to spark controversy. Yet very often, the issue lies in the context. The American artist placed a crucifix with a figurine of Jesus in a jar of urine his own and blood.