AVIGNON April 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the world’s most notorious pieces of anti-Christian “art” has been seriously damaged. French media reports that two young men were detained on Sunday in connection to the incident at an exhibition in the southern French city of Avignon, where two works were damaged, including one that depicted a crucifix immersed in urine.
The photo, titled “Piss Christ,” said to have been valued at U.S. $25,000, was slashed yesterday with what police say was a pickaxe or screwdriver. The work had been protected by plexiglass, but this was smashed; the photo is reportedly damaged beyond repair.
The Catholic bishop of Vaucluse, Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, had described the work as “odious” and “trash,” and had called for it to be removed.
“Piss Christ,” is a red-tinged photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass container of what was purported to be the artist’s own urine. The work was created by American photographer Andres Serrano in 1987 and has been at the centre of much controversy over the years as to the nature and value of some modern art. Serrano’s works have often included human bodily fluids, depicting menstrual blood, semen, and human breast milk.
A large part of the controversy surrounding the work was its support by the artistic establishment, including federally funded grant organizations. The work won the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition, which is sponsored in part by the U.S. government’s National Endowment for the Arts.
The display of the work had been criticized by the Christian lobby group Civitas, who called the piece a “sacrilege vis-a-vis God and Catholics.” The group had launched a petition for it to be removed from the exhibition. A group of about 500 demonstrated outside the exhibition this Saturday.
French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand condemned the vandalism as an attack on freedom of expression. The gallery’s curator, Eric Mezil, issued a statement saying the damaged works will be left on display so the public could “appreciate the barbarity committed by extremists.”