09 October 2007

"A History of Sex" Elicits Violent Response

"I don't think of my work as political. I don't affiliate myself
with any movement, the left or the right, I don't trust either
of them. I try to keep my distance, but when you say your work
is political art, you limit your audience and you put its
meaning on the table. It's important to be more mysterious.
I think of my work as having a social conscious, but it's not
necessarily something I need to talk about. I let you read how
you need to read it." ~ Andres Serrano

This report from The New York Times on vandals in Lund, Sweden who destroyed photographs by Andres Serrano (pictured above). Serrano is perhaps best known for his "blasphemous" works. While the images in his "A History of Sex" exhibition in part trade on that theme, they seem more to seek to shock with exlicitness or at times with a suggestion of explicitness. Here is a relatively tame example.

A History of Sex (Christiaan and Rose), 1996
© Andres Serrano

I have to say that this work strikes me as banal and derivative. (After all, A.S. invites us to ascribe meaning to it as we see fit!) But I don't see forcing one's way into a museum or gallery to destroy it.
P.S.: (Added somewhat later) I urge you to watch the way the "vandals" operate. These are not youngsters pulling a prank. They are Neo-Nazi thugs. Their home made propaganda video was on Youtube this afternoon but now has been removed. You can find it here instead. Listen for the jackboots marching!



Blogger lee said...

I agree with your comments and i think it goes back to was said regarding Toscani and the fact that the least difficult thing to be is controversial.
Its seems that in this sensitive time we live in it is not hard to find someone to offend and draw attention to oneself. In my opinion the old chesnut of as Serrano says " i let you read how you need to read it " is somewhat of a cop out.

09 October, 2007 15:03  
Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

Maybe I've been living in China for too a long time, but I find the photos to be nothing but filth. Tax payers shouldn't have to pay for this. I'm not defending the actions of the Neo-Nazi vandals but I can certainly understand why many people would reckon this "art" objectionable. I would suggest to anyone who find images of a woman masturbating a horse as an artistic expression of "alternative love" to have their head examined.

09 October, 2007 22:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you comment on relatively mild and inconsequential matters like this, but not the death threats and violent cartoon riots perpetrated by tens of thousands of Muslims all around the world? Your bias just doesn't make sense.

11 October, 2007 12:21  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...


I comment on lots of things. That is my choice. If you find my "bias" so counfounding please fell free to spend your precious time elsewhere. No one here will miss you.

11 October, 2007 15:51  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

PS: I really don't think rampaging neo-Nazis are inconsequential. That you do is telling.

11 October, 2007 15:52  

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home