Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, a 1987 photograph depicting a crucifix immersed in urine, still has the power to get Christian politicians up in arms, if only figuratively speaking. The photo will be included in a show, “Body and Spirit: Andres Serrano 1987–2012,” that opens Thursday at New York’s Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art. The show is curated by Walter Robinson, former editor of Artnet.com magazine.
Serrano’s work was at the center of culture wars that raged in the ’80s and ’90s, and its recent reappearances in the news—a print of the work was attacked in France last year—indicates that 25 years have done little to lessen some Christians’ sensitivities.
Bill Donohue, president of New York’s Catholic League, told Fox News that he may protest at the exhibition’s opening on Thursday night. “The timing [of the show] is not a mistake,” he said.
Perhaps what he is referring to is that the iconic image is getting renewed play at the same time that “The Innocence of Muslims,” a video lampooning Islam, is at the center of deadly unrest in the Middle East.
If this is what he means, Donohue’s conspiracy theory would require the show to have been organized with foreknowledge of the video and the resulting riots, but never mind.
Conservatives such as Fox’s Sean Hannity and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin are calling President Obama’s statement on the video, in which he says that Americans “reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” an apology, despite his going on to say “There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence—none.”
They see a double standard in his silence regarding the Serrano image, which has accrued zero deaths thus far.