Andres Serrano's picture was torn in two. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican Senator representing New York, could not believe the National Endowment of the Arts gave $15,000 of tax-payer money to Serrano for his photograph. In protest he called for the President of the United States to request action from the Endowment on their appropriation procedures for awarding artists with federal monies.
The photograph in question is the 1980's piece Serrano produced as part of a series of reflections of figurines in liquid. His collection consisted of figurines in blood, water and urine. The most controversial piece being Piss Christ, a crucifixion submerged in a container of the artist's urine.
Serrano, a wayward Catholic responds to criticism with a convuluted worldview. He comments, "I don’t really know what hallowed ground is. I know everyone has their own interpretation of what barriers should or should not be crossed, or what the moral parameters are."
Makoto Fujimura's moral and physical canvas stands in opposition to Serrano. A Japanese Christian working around the corner from many of the galleries that have displayed Serrano's Piss Christ, Fujimura works to connect truth and beauty in his laborous work.
In the video above Fujimura comments, "Today we have a language to celebrate waywardness, but not a language to to bring people back home." His perspective is overtly Christian, celebrating the overall theme of the canon of Scripture and it's completeness and finality.
God's creation of the world is the criterion by which all artistic expression is measured. Serrano's approach is undoubtedly an expression of waywardness, failing to link the originator of beauty to his work, a dangerous task, as noted himself, "I think the most dangerous anarchists are not the ones with a social agenda but the ones without any. They are the free thinkers who think outside the box. Many are in jail, or insane asylums but some are in Hollywood and in the art world. I know when I’m done with a picture when I see something I like, but I don’t always know when I’m done with a series."
We celebrate artists like Makoto Fujimura for their dedication to structure, communicating redemption and retaining the image of the Image Creator in artistic expression.