Andres Serrano
[Artist, b. 1950, New York, lives in New York.]

 An artist is nothing without his or her obsessions, and I have mine. One of the things that always bothered me was the fundamentalist labeling of my work as “anti-Christian bigotry.” As a former Catholic, and as someone who even today is not opposed to being called a Christian, I felt I had every right to use the symbols of the Church and resented being told not to. 
 I’ve always understood the nature of conflict and duality, so I don’t have a problem with the duality of images and the fact that they can blow hot and cold or be seductive and critical at the same time. 
 I think if the Vatican is smart, someday they’ll collect my work. 
 I realize that people expect a certain level of provocation from me. But when I provoke they get angry, and when I don’t provoke they are disappointed. 
 My work is intensely personal. I don’t think that because I am Hispanic I should therefore do Hispanic work. Are cum shots Hispanic? What about close-ups of menstrual pads? 
 I like to believe that rather than destroy icons, I make new ones. 
 I am appalled by the claim of “anti-Christian bigotry” that has been attributed to my picture, “Piss Christ.” The photograph, and the title itself, are ambiguously provocative but certainly not blasphemous. Over the years, I have addressed religion regularly in my art. My Catholic upbringing informs this work which helps me to redefine and personalize my relationship with God. My use of such bodily fluids as blood and urine in this context is parallel to Catholicism’s obsession with “the body and blood of Christ.” 
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