I came across an article in New York magazine about a show that Andres Serrano, a controversial New York artist, recently had in Sweden (October 2007).
Still from YouTube video
The exhibition, called the History of Sex, was vandalized with crowbars and axes by a group of Neo-Nazis who disapproved of the sexually explicit subject matter. Read the NY Times account here.
The vandals destroyed 7 of the 14 photos on display and videotaped themselves doing this. They then posted the video to YouTube (it’s since been removed).
Do you agree with Serrano that the “modified” photos still stood as works of art, albeit with a message other than that intended by the artist? Should the gallery have displayed them alongside the remaining, undamaged photos? Do you believe that this would have opened a dialogue with the public about the nature of controversial art or would it have encouraged future vandals?
Do you think, as some in the art world have suggested, that the video of the destruction itself (shot by the vandals) became an artistic expression of dissent and is its own work of art?
NB: Neither of the photos above are from the exhibition. Google will provide you with quite a few images if you’re interested.