April 19, 2011

11 thoughts about hammering "Piss Christ" into destruction.

1. Here's the news article everyone's linking to, which says that the famously controversial photograph "was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an 'anti-blasphemy' campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon." The use of "after" is a weirdly hedged insinuation of cause-and-effect. "After" is the "post" in the phrase "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" ("after this, therefore because of this"), which identifies a logical fallacy.

2. Quite aside from that "after" problem, I can't tell what happened "the southern city of Avignon." Was it the anti-blasphemy campaign or the hammering? (More details in the linked article. I know what happened. )

3. Andres Serrano sure made a splash with that urine of his! He's been famous and provocative since 1987 for what really ought to have been shaken off at the time as a mere droplet of bad art.

4. A hammer was used to destroy a picture of the crucifixion and a hammer was used to nail Jesus to the cross.

5. The destruction itself could be viewed as a work of art — like "Erased De Kooning."

6. Indeed, the museum — the Collection Lambert — will reopen "with the damaged works shown as they are." And many will come to view and talk about the already over-talked-about photograph.

7. "Piss Christ" is a photograph — a print from a negative — so the destroyed work is not the only "Piss Christ." "Serrano made 10 Cibachrome prints of 'Piss Christ." Presumably, the negative still exists as well, though the value of the prints must depend on the small size of the edition of prints.

8. The value of the prints also depends on the controversy! In 2008, a print of "Piss Christ" sold for $277,000. You figure out the cause-and-effect.

9. The destruction of one print enhances the value of the other 9 prints in 2 ways: It cut the edition of undestroyed prints down to 9 and it bumped up the controversy. And the bonus is the 10th print exists in destroyed — "Erased De Kooning" — form. It is now unique, and it embodies the controversy in a new way. Question: It is now more or less valuable than the undestroyed prints?

10. How do you know the destruction of the "Piss Christ" was not an inside job? Here's another Latin phrase: Cui bono?

11. The first linked article, from a UK website (The Guardian), has a correction appended: "The original [article] referred to the Senator Jesse Helms as Jesse James." Ha. The Brits can't keep their American outlaws straight.

92 comments:

Leo Ladenson said...

The Brits can't keep their American outlaws straight.


My sarcasm detector is back on and functioning.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

One down, nine to go.

Ron said...

Jesse Helms married Sandra Bullock? And now they're divorced? Well...she eventually got sense.

rhhardin said...

If Kodachrome was involved, it's even more valuable.

Julius said...

So much pomo crammed into one blog post! Kudos, Althouse!

As for Mr Sarkozy and the American Republicans referenced in the piece:

The Christian heritage of a country or society can indeed be admirable.

Using that heritage for political gain is usually distasteful, morally wrong, and contrary to the principles of the Christian heritage itself.

Sofa King said...

Does anyone think that Christians have not been observing *how* Muslims seem to acquire unusual deference?

MadisonMan said...

Sur le pont D'Avignon
On y danse, on y danse
Sur le pont D'Avignon
On y danse touse en rond.

Thanks for reminding me of that ditty.

EDH said...

They should change the name of this one print to "Pissed Christ."

Kevin said...

Be a religion that violently responds to blasphemy, and you are respected. If not, you are mocked.

MadisonMan said...

...and I know you did it on purpose, althouse, but the phrase 'made a splash with that urine of his' made me laugh. Also makes me wonder if I need to clean the bathroom floor.

shoutingthomas said...

We Christians are excitable! We can't help but riot when our icons are desecrated.

We wouldn't want to offend the Christians. They might riot and behead people.

Likewise, we cannot legalize gay marriage. It might cause Muslims to riot and behead people.

Comrade X said...

while it's similar, it's not exactly the same way muslims prevent Serrano from producing Piss Mohammed.

burtegel said...

Jesse, Frasnk, Henry, William, Moe, Larry...

EDH said...

What about that other famous American, Jesse Camp?

DADvocate said...

Last night Rachel Maddow was so happy to report this incident by fundie Catholics she pissed in her pants.

PaulV said...

Maybe Jesse James escaped the killer's bullet and there is more to the story.

PatCA said...

I like how the Graundian says the nation was "plunged" into reflection of religious freedom over a slashed photograph.

Suicide bombers, etc., not so much.

traditionalguy said...

Let the blasphemies roll so that when the Christ comes back as the angry lamb, He will know his friends from his enemies.

Fen said...

Sofa: Does anyone think that Christians have not been observing *how* Muslims seem to acquire unusual deference?

*whack*

"deep to left field, it... could go... yes! He knocks it out of the ballpark!"

kent said...

"Well, when you cave so easily to Muslims’ complaints about blasphemy, you send a signal to everyone else about what kind of behavior is rewarded. May you have joy in the incentive structure you’ve created."

Bingo.

Fen said...

You know, if non-christians fought Islam as fiercely as they fight against Christians, this war would be over next week.

DADvocate said...

Maddow fails to identify the attackers as Catholics but only as "conservatives" and "right wingers." Apparently, she's gotten the message and is afraid of violence from Catholics. She also strings together several other unrelated incidents committing numerour fallacies. Of course, fallacious thinking is the foundation of liberalism.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/42654304#42654304

Dust Bunny Queen said...

and I know you did it on purpose, althouse, but the phrase 'made a splash with that urine of his' made me laugh. Also makes me wonder if I need to clean the bathroom floor.

Me too :-)

This is also why women put those fluffy rugs at the base of the toilets. Much easier to just throw into the washer than to mop the entire floor.

(And you guys thought it was just to be feminine and annoying. There is a practical reason. There is no excuse for the fluffy toilet seat covers however.)

vw: prefake. Prototype fakery

Pogo said...

"why women put those fluffy rugs at the base of the toilets"

Ooooooooohhhh!

I thought it was to keeps yo' feets warm.

Preston said...

"7. "Piss Christ" is a photograph — a print from a negative — so the destroyed work is not the only "Piss Christ." "Serrano made 10 Cibachrome prints of 'Piss Christ." Presumably, the negative still exists as well, though the value of the prints must depend on the small size of the edition of prints."

One detail: Cibachromes were made from positives (transparancies), not negatives.

Fred4Pres said...

Talking about Jesse Helms. I once had to drop off a rental car at SFO airport and then take a bus into town to meet some friends. The bus was stopped by a traffic jam. It was the Folsom Street festival.

I got out and started walking. If you know San Francisco, you know what the Folsom Street festival is like. They had a huge cut out of Jesse Helms and you paid $5 to an AIDS charity to throw dildoes through his mouth. I wish I had a photo of it. It was pretty funny.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"why women put those fluffy rugs at the base of the toilets"

Ooooooooohhhh!

I thought it was to keeps yo' feets warm.


That's just a nice side effect.

:-D

YoungHegelian said...

I've got problems with the phrase "French Catholic fundamentalists".

I'm well acquainted with French weird Catholicism, since my uncle was married by Archbishop Lefebvre himself, and went on to produce ten kids.

There aren't a lot of hard-core Catholics in France anymore A hard-core Catholic in France today is one who actually goes to mass.

So, who are these "fundamentalist Catholics"? Lefebrists? Some would-be remnant of L'Action Francaise? A Catholic Workers Union? Who? Like Prof Althouse, I smell a rat here.

Also the terms "fundamentalist" and "Catholic" do not go together. It's like saying a "reform Orthodox Jew".

A fundamentalist is someone who believes in biblical literalism and inerrancy, and that the Bible is the only valid source of Christian revelation. Catholics don't and can't believe that.

Andrea said...

"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."

Translation: the majority of French people went about their day as usual, and the Guardian published another article.

shoutingthomas said...

There aren't a lot of hard-core Catholics in France anymore A hard-core Catholic in France today is one who actually goes to mass.

People say the same thing about Catholics in the U.S.

They're full of shit. I attend services at times in New Jersey, and at other times in Woodstock.

Services draw a nice crowd at both churches.

I suspect this "nobody goes to church" bit is really wishful thinking.

Mark said...

Is there irony in the fact that this took place in Avignon, the site of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar Heresy? "Kill them all. God will know his own."

Richard Dolan said...

"The use of 'after' is a weirdly hedged insinuation of cause-and-effect."

Weirdly hedged? It's just a bit of instant-history-writing of the most ordinary sort, where the ascription of motive-as-cause is always tentative, always reductive, always a bit untrue to the contingency of life. But the motive-as-cause explanation seems to fit here at least as well as descriptions of causal effects ever work in writing history. As for the 'logical fallacy,' the time line (cause before effect) is a necessary but not sufficient predicate for ascribing causation, except when it isn't in the truly weird world of quantum mechanics. It would be an interesting experiment to imagine the whole thing playing out in a quantum world (perhaps the one inhabited by Serrano) in which effect precedes cause.

YoungHegelian said...

@ST

No comparison between the US & France.

The US is a much more religiously observant culture than France. Every sociological article on the subject says the same thing.

Go to any Catholic Church in France for Sunday Mass. Who do you see? Immigrants and tourists.

The French even have a phrase for their rare baptism/funeral sightings within a church: Faire l'apparition.

Fen said...

Young: Also the terms "fundamentalist" and "Catholic" do not go together. It's like saying a "reform Orthodox Jew".

Good catch.

The Word has come done from MiniJournoList:

"work in the qualifier fundamentalist when talking about Christians, to draw equivalence to those who would behead us if we name them."

edutcher said...

"French Catholic fundamentalists going on a rampage"?

Sounds like we're getting ready for some Crusades.

Or maybe Somebody, Who's been outta town for a long while, is coming back to lay down the law.

(after all, Little Zero could be the anti-You Know Who)

Sixty Grit said...

I am surprised they didn't confuse him with that other US outlaw - Jesse Jackson.

He sure as Hell stole more than Mr Howard.

burtegel said...

Jesse, Frasnk, Henry, William, Moe, Larry...

Thomas, Henry, William, Moe, Shemp, Curly...

Fixed it.

Fen said...

You know, if non-christians fought Islam as fiercely as they fight against Christians, this war would be over next week.

Your lips to God's ears, sir.

Paddy O said...

I've got problems with the phrase "French Catholic fundamentalists".

Marie Durand was not available for comment.

Bob Reed said...

"He's been famous and provocative since 1987 for what really ought to have been shaken off at the time as a mere droplet of bad art."

Hah! I see what you did there professor...

Pretty witty. I'd say urine original, but, well, let's not get all punny here :)

Seriously though, I think you owe me a new monitor, unless you know of a way to completely remove coffee from all of the little cooling slits.

My Regards

YoungHegelian said...

@Mark,

I don't know how much you know about the details of Cathari theology, but if the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages really felt the need to snuff some heresy, this was a real good place to start.

I've often wondered why modern New-Agey types feel so gooey-eyed over a bunch of folks who thought that sex and reproduction was evil.

Also, murdering an unarmed papal legate was not a good way to win friends and influence people in the Middle Ages, a fact the Cathari found out the very hard way.

Sofa King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sofa King said...

I didn't expect a kind of French inquisition!

rankinstein said...

Obviously they were just performance artists, expressing themselves. How dare we all judge.

Will the French Ministry of Culture display Theo Van Gogh's corpse, to let people know "what the barbarians" are capable of?

Henry said...

What has he done lately?

Alex said...

Liberals would be outraged at a Piss Muhammed.

reader_iam said...

Althouse: No fair just dropping by Twitter out of the freakin' blue and planting a Pete Seeger[/Lee Hays] earworm in unsuspecting tweeps! Thanks a lot, pal.

; )

Crimso said...

"Seriously though, I think you owe me a new monitor, unless you know of a way to completely remove coffee from all of the little cooling slits."

Take a picture of it and call it "Coffee von Neumann."

reader_iam said...

And you hammer in the morning, you hammer in the evening, all over this land? (And others, too.)

Conservative Playa said...

Where are those patriotic defenders of freedom of expression? Does your embrace of democratic principles end at the waters edge?
Yesterday, we were overflowing with angst at those vulgar noisemakers who would drown out the twitterings of Moooooose-a-lini. In contrast, it would appear that to disparage the idol of Christianists allows one to discard their libertarian principles like soiled garments at the end of the day.

Alex said...

Where are those patriotic defenders of freedom of expression? Does your embrace of democratic principles end at the waters edge?
Yesterday, we were overflowing with angst at those vulgar noisemakers who would drown out the twitterings of Moooooose-a-lini.


It's not freedom of expression to drown out someone else's freedom of expression. It's fascism, pure and simple! Why do you hate America so badly?

LordSomber said...

The Jesse James angle strikes a chord. These "trangressive" artists and activists who revere such "outlaws" as Serrano and Che remind me of Bobby Brady idolizing Jesse James.
Then Bobby had that nightmare where Jesse James shot his family. Bang! Bang!

Scott M said...

I didn't expect a kind of French inquisition!

It was inevitable. Someone needs to do a fish dance with the "artist".

TML said...

I don't understand why people didn't see Piss Christ for wha it is: a hard, beautiful truth about the way society treats Christ. If you've seen his other work including a stunning New Testament cover of Christ's bloody face, it would be a lot clearer.

Ut said...

Barack Obama: "Get in their faces. Punch them back twice as hard."

FUCK YEAH.

They aren't "hammering piss Christ." They're "organizin' their community."

They're punishing their enemies and rewarding their friends.

VanderDouchen said...

A very dangerous risk/reward system has been put into place by the elite thinkers of the world. A societal behavior baseline has been established during our latest round of political commentary, here in amerika.

It almost appears that civil kinetic incivility is a desired end game for the folks that are defining the desired behavior that is rewarded.

Anyone else get a feeling that someone's been p1ssing in the dishwasher?

WV: prograto:

Io sono prograto in verso congrato. Qualcuno deve esserre grato.

P.S. In on a piss thread at Thouse. Whoot!

Kirk Parker said...

Pogo: "I thought it was to keeps yo' feets warm."

DBQ: "That's just a nice side effect."

Me: Warm, and wet??? Yuck!

Clyde said...

Boy, those Frenchies sure have got some nerve, desecrating art like that! All I have to say to them is "Urine trouble now!"

E.M. Davis said...

Pogo: "I thought it was to keeps yo' feets warm."

DBQ: "That's just a nice side effect."

Me: Warm, and wet??? Yuck!


I'm right there with you. Those things are bacteria traps, pure and simple.

Scott M said...

Should we just start to point out double-standards and then summarily dismiss them altogether? That seems like it would save time and give less incentive for double-standard bearers (lol) to crop up all the time.

Revenant said...

Does anyone think that Christians have not been observing *how* Muslims seem to acquire unusual deference?

Poor behavior by Muslims and Muslim apologists does not excuse poor behavior by Christians.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Pogo: "I thought it was to keeps yo' feets warm."

DBQ: "That's just a nice side effect."

Me: Warm, and wet??? Yuck!


@ Kirk

Sounds like you need to practice your aiming technique.

I'm right there with you. Those things are bacteria traps, pure and simple.

Re: bacteria. The world is FULL of bacteria so unless you want to be Howard Hughes, live with it.

Wash your rugs and towels at least once a week and don't piss on the carpet.

Re: Piss Christ. Perhaps Christians should begin acting like Muslims and take violent umbrage at every perceived slight. Why not? Mabye then we won't be the Rodney Dangerfield of religions anymore.

And now....I'm going out in the sun to dig in the dirt which is full of bacteria, worms, bugs and manure. I think I'll live through it.

Sofa King said...

Poor behavior by Muslims and Muslim apologists does not excuse poor behavior by Christians.

Obviously not, but it does help explain it, no? I thought we were into asking why they hate us?

Scott M said...

Poor behavior by Muslims and Muslim apologists does not excuse poor behavior by Christians.

No, but even the youngest children can observe a behavior and how parents either punish or reward it. I've been wondering since '93 when other religions' zealots, true fundies, get around to aping the dubious, but undeniable, success their Islamic contemporaries have been able to achieve.

Scott M said...

...ugh...horrible writing. But, in my defense, I did take three calls while trying to type that out :)

DADvocate said...

... does not excuse poor behavior by Christians.

Screw excuses. It's effective.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@DBQ

"Wash your rugs and towels at least once a week and don't piss on the carpet."

LOL - anyone that raised boys knows you don't put one of those carpet thingys around the toilet.

Reminds me of this joke:

Harvard and Yale students are simultaneously peeing in separate urinals in a bathroom.

After they both finish, the Harvard student washes his hands, while the Yale student walks towards the door to exit.

The Harvard student says to the Yale-er, 'At Harvard, they teach us to wash our hands after we piss'.

The Yale-er replies, 'At Yale, they teach us not to piss on our hands'.

Pogo said...

Hammering Piss Christ is vandalism upon vandalism; like spray-painting over graffiti.

Performance art.
Who on the left could object to that?

Paddy O said...

5. The destruction itself could be viewed as a work of art — like "Erased De Kooning."

I'm convinced by this. If art is pushing itself beyond the expressive capabilities of expertise in particular media, and into the manipulation of ideas through commonplace objects, then it certainly seems like the artistic narrative is driven forward by physicalized critique of the nascent expression.

With the crucifix as the primary object, the developing narrative of interaction of sacred objects with perceived desecratory medium is first initialized by Serrano's commentary of the crucifix being drowned in urine, a protest of the commercialization of a religious sacred object.

This narrative is given a second layer in the actions of the vandals. The sacred object in question is no longer the crucifix, which because is it not held as sacred by the majority of art enthusiasts no longer bears the weight of symbolic entry into the sublime.

Instead, the art piece itself becomes the sacred symbol, beyond critique or touch, a holy icon of contemporary humanity's consecration of art as social critique, yet itself commercialized, valorized in reproduced forms, taking on a social identity of its own well beyond its initial, intended critique.

The kinetic interaction between a particular instance of Piss Christ and apparently religiously devout Catholics enacts a chiastic with the original narrative, with those who were originally offended responding with culturally heretical approaches to the enshrined art, as a restorative commentary on the non-monetized value of the original art piece in question (the crucifix) and as an implicit critique of the consumerist "controversy for controvery's sake" mentality that has made the only shocking act that which is the most traditional.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't understand why people didn't see Piss Christ for what it is: a hard, beautiful truth about the way society treats Christ."

I don't think Serrano intended the image in that way at all. I think he made it simply to make an esthetically beautiful image, and he succeeded. It is a sublime and ineffable image of the crucified Christ, the most ethereal and transfixing I have seen. I'm an atheist, but I would certainly hang a large print of the image on my wall and enjoy it very much, thank you.

If Serrano had kept his methods secret and had titled the image PEACE CHRIST, say, Christians the world over would praise the image as a mysterious and powerful interpretation of the defining image of their savior.

Scott M said...

If Serrano had kept his methods secret and had titled the image PEACE CHRIST, say, Christians the world over would praise the image as a mysterious and powerful interpretation of the defining image of their savior.

Doubtful for two reasons. It would not have gained any notoriety at all, especially if he kept the liquid's actual identity secret. If he didn't, it would take a fourth-grader about ten seconds to substitute piss for peace and we would have been right back where we were.

RonF said...

The gallery director, Eric Mézil, said it would reopen with the destroyed works on show "so people can see what barbarians can do".

I propose that people saw what barbarians can do when that photograph was first exhibited.

Robert Cook said...

"Doubtful for two reasons. It would not have gained any notoriety at all, especially if he kept the liquid's actual identity secret. If he didn't, it would take a fourth-grader about ten seconds to substitute piss for peace and we would have been right back where we were."

Um, Scott...could you be a bit less literal minded? PEACE CHRIST was just my cute pun on the name. Serrano could have named it anything else. Also, if he had not revealed his methods, it would not necessarily be obvious at all that the crucifix was submerged in a fluid of any kind.

As for whether the image would have become well known otherwise...who can say? Again, that's not the point. The image itself is beautiful, and to whatever degree it would have become known--absent the awareness of its means of making and the attendant notoriety--it would have been celebrated for its radiance and reverence.

Phil 3:14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Um, Scott...could you be a bit less literal minded?

Never.

Christianity is a religion of peace.

(I mean, that's the standard line, right?)


Correct...which is why this is such an outlier. I think it's just as likely an inside job. Regardless, it doesn't rise to the level of beheadings and suicide bombings.

Matt said...

I agree Jesse Helms was an outlaw. Much more than Andres Serrano who was merely an artist who the social right wing conservatives decided they wanted to make famous.

Weird the way that works.

Pogo said...

"The image itself is beautiful"

Other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Michael said...

What would be the effect on value if they had simply lopped off Mr. S's head?

virgil xenophon said...

Paddy O@1:15/

LOL. You've got the post-modern deconstructonist academic argot down pat, my man! (Now if I thought you really believed any of that I'd really be worried..)

virgil xenophon said...

Padt O/

What's even MORE disturbing to me is that I actually fully understand your point as argued...mmmm...MUST...go...back...to...brain...degaussing unit..

TML said...

Robert, I claim no special knowledge of Serrano and his work. What I've seen makes me personally believe he has quite a high regard and love for Jesus Christ. This is the NT with a photo by him on the cover. No shy simulacrum here. This is the brutal truth about Christ crucified, with no soft edges. Genius, crushing, beautiful.
http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/1425816_2zHlgFkb_c.jpg

Palladian said...

"Piss Christ"... Ah, the bonehead social conservative's go-to artwork when ranting about the evils of modern art. Serrano's always been a cheap, Grand-Guignol-style charlatan, with little to offer except sharp-looking Cibachromes of dull-minded épater le bourgeois fare. The funny thing is that the whingers and rosary-twisters continue to take the bait!

So some Gallic papists took a play from the old Protestant book of iconoclasm and smashed up an image of the crucified Christ? No different than the psycho who took a hammer to Michelangelo's Pietà- a lame attack by the animate on the inanimate. And, as Althouse suggests, more free publicity and inflated valuation of Serrano's work.

One small technical quibble: Cibachromes/Ilfochromes are made from positive transparencies, not negatives. And they're almost automatically beautiful. One of my major artworks includes a big Ilfochrome print. They're a bit harder to get made these days, but they absolutely blow any digital printing techniques out of the water.

Revenant said...

"Poor behavior by Muslims and Muslim apologists does not excuse poor behavior by Christians."

Obviously not, but it does help explain it, no?

Not really, no. European Christians have a long history of violent opposition to minority religious views.

Ut said...

"Poor behavior by Muslims and Muslim apologists does not excuse poor behavior by Christians."

Nobody said it did; but then again we're not making excuses here. Or searching for any.

We're discussing what works. What is effective? How do you get ahead in this world? How do you get respect?

What works is killing your enemies (according to Barack Obama). Punishing your enemies and rewarding your friends ... that's what he said.

Muslims listened to him. It's why newspapers don't criticize Muslims or run cartoons or cover their crazed terroristic sermons preached from Mosques right here in America every Friday afternoon.

Muslims have made quite clear they'll kill you if you criticize anything they do. And it's not a threat. They'll actually do it. Fucking behead you right in the street.

Instead of criticism these murders have earned Muslims a place at the table; "outreach" they call it at the White House.

Christians should get them some outreach.

But first, they'll have to learn the tactics.

Fen said...

Instead of criticism these murders have earned Muslims a place at the table; "outreach" they call it at the White House.

Meanwhile, Christians who play by the rules are rewarded with Palladian's "...bonehead social conservative's go-to artwork when ranting about the evils of modern art. The funny thing is that the whingers and rosary-twisters continue to take the bait!" and Rev's "Christians have a long history of violent opposition to minority religious views".

Virtue is its own reward, but you guys could manage a "thanks for not going Muslim on us" every now and then.

Rick said...

As St. Seinfeld once said... paraphrasing... piss Christ doesn't offend me as a Christian, it offends me as an Artist!

And so this outsider volunteers to increase the value of the remaining nine.

William said...

I can appreciate the Rev. Jones wish to gain publicity and perhaps add a few parishioners worth planking to his congregation. Nonetheless, he is going about it all wrong. He already has the facial hair of an artist. He may as well go all the way. My suggestion: He should take the ashes from the burnt Koran and use them for making a charcoal drawing on the white marble wall of a gay bathhouse. The drawing could be of Karl Marx giving Buddha a blow job. The title: The Resurrection of Harvey Milk.....He could submit signed copies of photos of this work to the major museums. Perhaps sell a few from his private collection to serious collectors. His ministry could be that of a man of God bringing witness to the art world. Any abuse heaped upon him by either the Philistines or the art world would only add to his stature in the other camp. You only have to fool some of the people some of the time in order to become extremely wealthy. And have you ever seen the kind of girls that show up at art galleries? Primo stuff. Not like Walmart waddlers you get at baptisms.

Paddy O said...

Thanks, Virgil. I almost, but not quite, convinced myself. I could never really pull off being a pomo academic writer. I just don't take myself seriously enough.

Phil 3:14 said...

Christianity is a religion of peace.

(fixed previous typo)

kent said...

Once again:

"Well, when you cave so easily to Muslims’ complaints about blasphemy, you send a signal to everyone else about what kind of behavior is rewarded. May you have joy in the incentive structure you’ve created."

Genuinely amazing how many here fail to understand (or, more likely, pretend to fail to understand) that final sentence, in particular.

el polacko said...

as robert cook has noted here, the photo is a quite beautiful image that, if not for the title, would not likely have stirred any reaction, from believers and non-believers alike, other than admiration.
in response to his hysterical critics, serrano (a devout catholic himself) has repeatedly explained his intentions in creating this particular piece as part of a series of photographs employing human bodily fluids. apparently, no amount of information could prevent reactions to the title from reaching the fevered pitch that led to the destruction of this photograph. looks like torches and pitchforks are still in vogue with the ill-informed mob.

buck smith said...

An inside job! cui bono? That was Althousian brilliance

Revenant said...

apparently, no amount of information could prevent reactions to the title from reaching the fevered pitch that led to the destruction of this photograph.

My atheistic opinion is that knowing the full story just changes the interpretation from "Serrano created Piss Christ because he hates Christians" to "Serrano created Piss Christ because he's a nut".

Honestly, I have no sympathy for the argument that Christian anger is unreasonable and/or ignorant. It's urine. You don't soak things you care about in urine. A three year old child knows THAT much.

reader_iam said...

You don't soak things you care about in urine.

Really?