“Piss Christ,” the photographic work by the artist Andres Serrano, was attacked with hammers and destroyed this Palm Sunday following a”anti-blasphemy” rally spearheaded by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon.
As the Guardian notes:
When New York artist Andres Serrano plunged a plastic crucifix into a glass of his own urine and photographed it in 1987 under the title Piss Christ, he said he was making a statement on the misuse of religion.
Controversy has followed the work ever since, but reached an unprecedented peak on Palm Sunday when it was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an “anti-blasphemy” campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon.
The violent slashing of the picture, and another Serrano photograph of a meditating nun, has plunged secular France into soul-searching about Christian fundamentalism and Nicolas Sarkozy’s use of religious populism in his bid for re-election next year.
It also marks a return to an old standoff between Serrano and the religious right that dates back more than 20 years, to Reagan-era Republicanism in the US.
The photographs actual title is “Immersion (Piss Christ)” and was created in a series of photographs depicting religious elements suspended in various liquids such as milk, urine and blood. Two years later the photograph which was destroyed in France on Sunday became the focus of the culture war on arts in the United States ending in a general defunding of public support for the arts in the NEA and other state grants, spearheaded by a conservative bloc headed by the then senator Jesse Helms.
Check out some thoughts on Art Censorship here.