A luxurious catalogue of Serrano's new body of works, with an essay by Hélène Cixous.
A full color catalogue devoted to a new large scale photographs series, in which Andres Serrano
continues his investigation of bodily functions through color photographs of excrement produced by a motley of
animals. The photographs are formally constructed and demonstrate Serrano's considerable technical skill while
analyzing subject matter that might make some viewers squeamish. The artist treats the feces to his familiar
bright psychedelic backgrounds and titles that demonstrate his keen sense of humour. The photographs are
simultaneously repellent and fascinating, allowing the viewer to inspect the manure without the deterrent of odor
or other sensual aggravation.
Although the theme is considered taboo, excrement has a discernable documentation in the history of art. In
1961 Piero Manzoni's unveiled his “Merda d'Artista” metal cans that supposedly contained the artist's stool,
priced according to weight. Karen Finley smeared herself with symbolic feces and even Andy Warhol
in the National Review saying that he would like to market his own excrement as jewelry (he felt it was merely a
matter of tasteful packaging).
Serrano does nonetheless confront the topic more directly than most. We recoil from his larger than life images of
human and animal waste (an evolutionary and biological response to the diseases that are the consequence of
bad sanitation. We are programmed to know this refuse is dangerous to handle or ingest). Once the viewer
recovers from the initial shock of the images, they are left to curiously study this eccentric body of work. Who
could have imagined that animals produce such an array of textures, shapes and color? Serrano gives us a
selection of “shits” that he dubs Good Shit, Bad Shit, Bull Shit, Hieronymous Bosch shit, Romantic shit and Deep
shit, humorous, insightful and often literal titles which further illustrate Serrano's provocative point of view.
Published for two exhibitions simultaneously presented at New York and Paris Yvon Lambert galleries (September-October 2008).
Andres Serrano (born 1950, lives and works in New York) is considered one of the most important contemporary artists working today. His work focuses on universal themes such as bodily fluids, religion, sex and death. Serrano is most famous for his seminal 1987 work Piss Christ, an
image of a plastic crucifix submerged in urine. The photograph was the subject of a heated congressional debate
in which politicians and religious leaders directly threatened Serrano's right to public funding. The scandal
resulted in an anti-obscenity clause that prevented “offensive” art works from National Endowment of the Arts
support and made Serrano into a champion of artistic freedom. In 2007 Serrano made controversial headlines
again when graphic photographs from his “History of Sex” series were vandalized in Sweden by members of a
purported neo-Nazi group.
His work is held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Institute of
Contemporary Art, Boston, Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Reina Sofia, Madrid and the New Museum of
Contemporary Art, New York, to name a few.