AMERICAN, b. 1950
Andres Serrano studied from 1967 to 1969 at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, yet is considered to be a self-taught photographer. His exhibitions have often inspired angry reactions. On October 5, 2007, his group of photographs called The History of Sex were on display and several were vandalized at an art gallery in Lund, Sweden. He has shot an array of subject matter including portraits of Klansmen, morgue photos, and pictures of burn victims. He went into the New York City Subway with lights and photographic background paper to portray the bedraggled homeless, as well as producing some rather tender but sometimes decidedly kinky portraits of couples. One of these last shows what Adrian Searle of The Guardian described as “a young couple, she with a strap-on dildo, he with a mildly expectant expression.
Many of Serrano’s pictures involve bodily fluids in some way—depicting, for example, blood (sometimes menstrual blood), semen (for example, Blood and Semen II (1990)) or human breast milk. Within this series are a number of works in which objects are submerged in bodily fluids. Among these is Piss Christ (1987), a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s own urine, which caused great controversy when first exhibited.