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In contrast to the reaction to Andres Serrano’s use of urine with Christ on a cross, his SH_T exhibit is ‘understated,’ if you can call wall-high photographs of excrement an understatement.
Serrano claims his underlying intent is always to create beauty in his work. While he may be practicing his craft in the shadow of Surrealism and Dada, he cannot claim it to be either. The disturbing subject matter coupled with the artist’s casual explanations and adamant stance that he will not be called upon to defend his work leave me feeling a bit frightened. It’s the same morbid fascination that I have with the character, Dexter, a forensics analyst who just happens to also be a serial killer—a nice enough guy, so long as you don’t really know him.
I value artists who push the cultural envelope, so I don’t want to dismiss Serrano’s contributions. My understanding of poo is more in the context of baby diapers, science, and medicine. I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate it as art. I see this display as something done for shock-value under the name of art.
It leaves me wretching in the lurch.
The video above is a walk though of the exhibition. My advice is that you view it on an empty stomach.