Piss Christ is a 1987 photo that was taken by Andres Serrano. The picture is of a small plastic crucifix that is in a glass of Serrano's urine. The piece won the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition.This contest gets some of its money from the National Endowment from the Arts, a United States government group that gives money to art projects.
The photo caused some dispute when it was first shown in 1989. Some people who were against the photo, including United States Senators Al D'Amanto and Jesse Helms were upset that Serrano was given $15,000 for the work. They were also upset that part of it was from the National Endowment for the Arts. Supporters of the work said the Piss Christ is an issue of artistic freedom and freedom of speech.
Sister Wendy Beckett, an art critic and Catholic nun, said in a television interview with Bill Moyers that she did not think the work was blasphemous. She thought that it was but a statement on "what we have done to Christ"
During a showing of Serrano's works at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in 1997, then Archbishop George Pelli tried to get the Supreme Court of Victoria to stop the gallery from showing the work. Th Court did not agree with him and did not stop it. A few days later, one visitor tried to take the work off of the gallery wall, and two teenagers later attacked the work with a hammer. The director of the NGV then cancelled the show. He said that he was worried about some of Rembrandt's works that were also being shown at the time.
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