The most vandalised artwork in modern history, ‘Piss Christ’, 1987, by the American artist Andres Serrano, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. On this occasion, the artwork will be immortalised on the Ethereum blockchain to guard against future destruction. The dynamic Piss Christ NFT will transform three times a year to reflect three acts of vandalism inflicted on it.
The NFT will be sold through Christie’s NEXT WAVE: THE MIAMI EDIT Auction
The condemnation and destruction of the actual image on the Congressional Floor, Washington, USA, May 18, 1989. Physical attack on Piss Christ by two teenagers, one armed with a hammer, in Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, October 12, 1997. Physical attack and destruction of Piss Christ with a hammer at The Collection Lambert in Avignon on April 17, 2011.
The NFT will be sold through Christie’s 3.0 as part of the NEXT WAVE: THE MIAMI EDIT auction and will be on view in Miami, Florida, between November 30 – December 3.
Born and raised a Roman Catholic, Andres Serrano says, “Piss Christ is a reflection of my work, not only as an artist but as a Christian. I am glad this artwork is now eternal, taking on a new life in the Metaverse.”
The original 60×40 photograph was produced from a wooden crucifix placed in the artist’s urine tank. Find out more information about the auction and how you can access it below.
The Revd Jonathan Evens has written in Artlyst his opinion of Andres Serrano’s work , “Among religious people, mental shifts are only made by reinterpreting the holy texts and, in this scenario, developing a theology of the Other, which involves seeing God’s face in strangers. An example of how this kind of dialogue can begin, taken from within the Christian tradition, involves that of those Christians who seek to censor or attack Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ on the basis of blasphemy. Such views cannot be countered or changed by arguments in the public square about the value of free speech, as free speech is viewed as a license for blasphemy. In this context, liberal arguments about free speech simply reinforce the religious sense of being under attack. However, it is possible to engage in a debate, based on Christian language and doctrine, about the nature of Christ’s incarnation of which, by submerging an image of Christ in human detritus, Piss Christ actually enables profound Christian reflection. Engaging in this dialogue on these terms, therefore, holds potential for the shifting of perspectives and understandings”.
Andres Serrano was born in 1950 in New York City. He attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School from 1967 to 1969, where he studied painting and sculpture. Andres Serrano’s name, along with Robert Mapplethorpe’s, was at the crossroads of the 1989 Cultural Wars when Serrano’s photograph, Piss Christ (1987), became the subject of a national debate on freedom of artistic expression and the public funding of controversial art. Serrano works primarily with photography, formally addressing universal themes of death, religion, sex and bodily fluids. Throughout his confrontational and challenging work, Serrano unpicks the hypocrisies and highlights similarities within religious, political and social constructs. Serrano is an internationally acclaimed American artist whose work has been shown in major institutions in the United States and abroad.
a/political explores radical knowledge through the principle of Cultural Terror. Working with artists and agitators, the collective platforms voices that interrogate the critical issues and dominant narratives of our time. a/political functions through interventions, commissions and a collection of contemporary art. Recently initiated, the a/political label uses the same methodology to collaborate on music projects that might be unsuitable for the mainstream industry. a/political is based in London, working closely with The Foundry and FOUNDRY UNIFORM in Maubourguet, Midi-Pyrénées. www.a-political.org / @apoliticalorg on social media.
Read Artlyst’s Exclusive Interview With Andres Serrano