(American, b.1950) is a New York-born Conceptual artist known for his provocative and often controversial works. After studying at the Brooklyn Museum Art School from 1967 to 1969, Serrano became known for his photographs, which combined beauty and vulgarity. Primarily working in large-format and using no digital manipulation, Serrano lets the subject matter of his photos speak—and shock—for itself. Perhaps best known for his work Piss Christ
, a photograph of a crucifix in what is purported to be the artist’s own urine, Serrano has drawn negative reactions from the religious leaders, conservative activists, and—most famously—senators protesting his receipt of National Endowment of the Arts funding. However, many have defended Serrano’s right to the freedom of expression, and he has continued to create works exploring challenging themes, such as violence, race, and poverty.
Other well-known works include his early 1990s series Objects of Desire
, depicting firearms, The Morgue
, depicting victims of violent crimes, and America
, exploring the wide spectrum of what it “means to be an American.” Serrano’s work is included in museums around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and has been used on album covers for heavy metal bands, such as Metallica. Serrano has also explored the realm of music, recording an album and creating a series of videos under the alter-ego Brutus Faust. Solo exhibitions of Serrano’s work have occurred around the world, and he is represented in New York and Paris by Yvon Lambert Gallery