Andres Serrano's 'Shit' Show

The Piss Christ artist returns. And God is still in the details.

If it's possible, for just a minute, to forget what you're looking at, maybe that's because "shooting so close up, it becomes monumental—bigger than life. It's so small, but when I make it so big, you lose all sense of what it is. Many people are quite surprised at the beauty and seductive quality of the work. After a while, it just becomes abstractions."

Still, when it comes to certain subject matter, 66 is a lot of images. "Heroic Shit is one of my favorites—it looks like the raising of the flag in Iwo Jima. Hieronymous Bosch Shit—I know this is a winner! It looks like a bird, like a Bosch creature. Burro Shit I and II—it's a diptych."

Aren't you glad you are not Serrano's significant other? For Deep Shit, he asked his girlfriend to dig a hole for him. "She was a little squeamish, but you get used to working with shit fast. I have the hard part—I have to go in there and work with piss and shit. For the audience, it's a very clean experience—just an aesthetic pleasure."

Self-Portrait Shit. More more  'Shit' show photos here.
Andres Serrano
Self-Portrait Shit. More more 'Shit' show photos here.

Details

More 'Shit' Show Photos
by Andres Serrano

I lift my gaze to admire Serrano's interior décor—maybe I just want a break from examining 66 mounds of manure—and ask him about the wooden Corpus Christi looming from the wall and the severed head of John the Baptist two inches from my hand. "I'm a collector, mostly period stuff—15th to 17th century, mostly religious. I like to get objects when I travel. I feel like a conqueror. Every century you go back, it costs more! But once you've got real Gothic, you don't want neo-Gothic. I didn't do fake shit either. I thought about getting some at a novelty store, but I didn't do that."

Serrano says he thinks he was born to do this work. "I just saw Batman—Ledger is a true anarchist. I would say that I'm one of them, too—a true anarchist doesn't give a fuck. I'm very lucky that I create work that finds collectors. I think this is great work—it's not only beautiful, it's unprecedented.

"My ego as an artist says I can make anything look good, even shit. The show is also very basic—in a way, what I'm saying is that we all think we have the best shit. If you want to see some real shit, check out my shit!" he says, beaming. "I got the best shit in town."

lyaeger@villagevoice.com

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