Andres Serrano. Body and Soul

Senators Jesse Helms and Alphonse D’Amato probably don’t appreciate being prominently used in the marketing of this first retrospective publication examining Serrano’s work. But their denunciation of “Piss Christ” in the U.S. Senate in 1989 is what brought the artist his fame, placing him alongside Mapplethorpe and Wojnarowicz as symbols of contemporary art’s loss of traditional values. Particularly when given this opportunity to survey the whole of the photographer’s career, readers will find the accusation laughable. Serrano is, sometimes to his detriment, a formalist and an artist with a rich sense of tradition. Starkly artificial composition and allegorical symbolism appear in every series, from the body-fluid monochromes (“Milk,” “Blood”) through the homeless “Nomads” and Klu Klux Klan portraits to the “Budapest” tableaux. Although the illustrations in this book come as close as possible in print to matching the luminous depth of Serrano’s cibachrome prints and though a fine representative selection is included, this career survey would have been enhanced by more straightforward biographical and art-historical essays. Still, given the fine traditional artistry of these artworks and the artist’s notoriety, this book deserves a place in contemporary photography collections.

Text: Hooks Bell, Arenas Amelia et al. cm 26×31; pp. 76; COL; hardcover with dust jacket. Publisher: Takarajima Books, New York, 1995.

ISBN: 9781883489113 | 1883489113
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ID: AM-1325

Product Description

Senators Jesse Helms and Alphonse D’Amato probably don’t appreciate being prominently used in the marketing of this first retrospective publication examining Serrano’s work. But their denunciation of “Piss Christ” in the U.S. Senate in 1989 is what brought the artist his fame, placing him alongside Mapplethorpe and Wojnarowicz as symbols of contemporary art’s loss of traditional values. Particularly when given this opportunity to survey the whole of the photographer’s career, readers will find the accusation laughable. Serrano is, sometimes to his detriment, a formalist and an artist with a rich sense of tradition. Starkly artificial composition and allegorical symbolism appear in every series, from the body-fluid monochromes (“Milk,” “Blood”) through the homeless “Nomads” and Klu Klux Klan portraits to the “Budapest” tableaux. Although the illustrations in this book come as close as possible in print to matching the luminous depth of Serrano’s cibachrome prints and though a fine representative selection is included, this career survey would have been enhanced by more straightforward biographical and art-historical essays. Still, given the fine traditional artistry of these artworks and the artist’s notoriety, this book deserves a place in contemporary photography collections.