Monday, April 18, 2011

"Thou Shalt Not Steal," But Destroying Another Man's Property? Sure!

This is sad.

The unfortunately named "Piss Christ" photograph was destroyed in Avignon on Sunday.  The work of art had previously caused a huge amount of controversy when it was first exhibited in 1989, attracting the ire of Senators Helms and D'Amato, as its production was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The image, a crucifix immersed in urine, shares a common theme with many other works by artist Andres Serrano-- he uses bodily fluids like blood and urine in many of his pieces.  The painting was being exhibited alongside a private collection in Yvon Lambert's stately mansion as a celebration of his 10 years of art collecting.

The local archbishop called the photograph "odious" and called for its removal.  The owner of the collection complained about religious extremist threats and protests, and then finally on Sunday four people between the ages of 18-25 entered the exhibition and attacked and destroyed the photograph.

"When New York artist Andres Serrano plunged a plastic crucifix into a glass of his own urine and photographed it in 1987 under the title Piss Christ, he said he was making a statement on the misuse of religion.

"Controversy has followed the work ever since, but reached an unprecedented peak on Palm Sunday when it was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an 'anti-blasphemy' campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon.

"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.

"It also marks a return to an old standoff between Serrano and the religious right that dates back more than 20 years, to Reagan-era Republicanism in the US."

This is disgusting.  What right do these people have to walk into another man's home and take a hammer to his personal property?  Where's the Commandment for that?


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