Andres Serrano. America and other work
Andres Serrano is one of America’s most mythologized contemporary artists. To many, he’s the man responsible for Piss Christ and a national scandal over government funding of controversial art. For those who look beyond the headlines, he’s a highly accomplished and ever-evolving photographic artist showing us the ordinary in extraordinary ways. With his post-Piss Christ series, Nomads, he made studio portraits of New York’s ethnic homeless and juxtaposed them with members of the Ku Klux Klan. In the Morgue series he dissected violent death and found the human thread on the coroner’s slab, while A History of Se explored the human mating urge in its infinite variety. Andres Serrano considers America his greatest achievement. Three years of work produced over one hundred 50-by-60-inch photographic portraits representing the cultural diversity of this immigrant country, as filtered through the critical lens of Serrano. There are celebrities: Arthur Miller, Snoop Dogg, Anna Nicole Smith, B.B. King, Vanessa del Rio; and ordinary citizens: a pimp, a boy scout, a Muslim housewife, a doctor, a Russian Orthodox Bishop. America is intimate, honest, and demanding of response, like all Serrano’s work. The second half of this big volume, Other Work, is a retrospective of Serrano’s previous photographic series. Together these two impressive halves create the whole of Andres Serrano’s artistic oeuvre. In 1989 US Senator Jesse Helms accused Andres Serrano of taunting the American people. America and Other Work is the perfect rebuttal.