Controversial ‘Piss Christ’ Now Hangs Alongside Trump Portrait in Houston Museum

A statement against the president’s desire to defund NEA.

Back in the late 1980s, Andres Serrano created a controversial piece of so-called art that helped launch the culture wars which lasted into the next decade. The artist took a photo of a submerged crucifix inside a vat of his own urine and called it “Piss Christ.” Thirty years later, it will hang next to his portrait of Donald Trump at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas.

The latest exhibit by Serrano, who is known for using bodily fluids as a main medium for his particular brand of shock art, runs from June 3 till October 8 and will feature other works, including his 2015 “Torture” series “which shows volunteers being degraded and shackled,” according to The Art Newspaper.

According to the paper, the torture images are “disturbing” and features “more than 40 volunteers being persecuted, with [Serrano] assuming the role of the torturer.”

These images, as well as “Piss Christ” alongside Trump’s portrait “could prove potent against the backdrop of Trump’s America and his pledge to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts,” the paper added.

Serrano photographed Trump in 2004 for his series “America.”

“Shortly after Sept. 11, I started a series called America,” Serrano told TIME. “I felt America had been attacked as the ‘enemy’ and I wanted to show who the ‘enemy’ was. I took over a hundred portraits of people from all walks of life over a three-year period. Donald Trump’s portrait, taken in 2004, was the last one taken.”

The Houston exhibit features quotes about torture by both the artist and Trump as shown in the tweet below:

Adrian Ellis, the founder of AEA Consulting, a firm for the cultural and creative industries, noted that the U.S. is on deck for “a fairly brutal culture war.”

“Culture is of course already thoroughly 'instrumentalised'; but now it's being weaponised,” Ellis said, adding:

“This happens in periods of deep social polarisation. Nazi Germany, obviously; but we had a more recent preview in the chapter of culture wars in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the NEA became the chosen battlefield between knowing, canny adversaries. It seems inevitable that culture expression will, willingly or unwillingly, be drawn into the vortex of contemporary non-consensual politics.”

Perhaps Kathy Griffin would like to submit her "art" for this anti-Trump exhibit. The violent imagery would fit quite nicely.

Photo credit: amsfrank via / CC BY-SA