Andres Serrano: Works 1983-1993
January 27 – April 9 1995
“Andres Serrano: Works 1983-1993” was a traveling exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and presented at The New Museum by Marcia Tucker in 1994.
The exhibition was the first mid-career survey of the artist’s work and allowed viewers to move beyond his media stereotype and to assess the depth of Serrano’s critical engagement with a range of challenging subjects. The works in the exhibition were selected from seven series of photographs that spanned the artist’s career to that point. Those series focused on ecclesiastic and mythological iconography, bodily emanations (urine, blood, semen), dead bodies (fragmented “portraits” shot in a morgue), and guns (the Objects of Desire series), themes that converged on a blunt evocation of death and afterlife, the body and its dismemberment. His focus on rituals of violence, spiritual life, and the body had led critics to cast Serrano as a kind of purveyor of abjection and blasphemy, a reading that had been framed through the lens of the late 1980s censorship debate and its dichotomies of sacred and profane, totem and taboo, reverence and repulsion.1