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Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
304.01 Experimental and manipulated photography > Body fluids and animal parts
The use of bodily fluids and animal parts pushes the fringes of decency. Images that contain urine, semen, blood or animal parts are conceived to provoke a reaction and the artistic community on the one side rapidly comes to the defense of the artist with the well versed arguments on originality and freedom of expression while on the other side those offended seek to argue that the work is a moral outrage, blasphemy or shows a decline in standards that will at the very least deprave the population.
304.02 Experimental and manipulated photography > Body fluids
Andrés Serrano has created images that combine religious and other symbols mixed with the artists bodily fluids. When shown in the late 1980s they created a backlash against public funding for the arts in the USA. His Piss Christ (1989) was shown at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1989 and this led to an attack on public funding of the arts in the USA led by an outraged New York Senator, Alphonse D'Amato. The public outcry was stalled by the Helms Amendment that prevented the use of public funds to support 'obscene' work unless it had 'serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.' The work continued to create controversy and in October 1997 the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia) closed an exhibition with the photograph after two separate attacks by members of the public soon after it opened.
Max Kandhola created photographs that incorporated blood, urine, hair and ash as his father died from cancer.
The same tradition holds true in painting where artists mix media to add to their overall message. There was an outcry in the UK in 1998 when the UK's important Turner Prize went to Chris Ofili, 30-year-old British painter of Nigerian origin, whose trademark was to add elephant dung to his works.
304.03 Experimental and manipulated photography > Animal parts
Frederick Sommer photographed assemblages of animal parts especially chickens to create black and white totemic images.
Adam Fuss has also created oddly abstract images incorporating fluids and animal parts.
Adam Fuss (1961-) • Max Kandhola • Andres Serrano (check) • Frederick Sommer (1905-1999)
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