Works, 1983-1993 by Andres Serrano(4.5) The more I think about Andres Serranos work the more important I think it is. It is not because of its aesthetic beauty that I think this, but because of its content. Ive generally approached art and photography with an eye for what is aesthetically pleasing or interesting. Ive tended to look at form versus content. There was a time when I had no interest in photographs of people; I was mostly interested in abstracts. Color, texture, contrast, etc. were content for me. I am still drawn to abstracts, and might always love much of abstract expressionism. Serranos work though challenges my formal bent. In the previous Serrano book I read, Body and Soul, I had a dual reaction to one of his abstract photographs, Semen and Blood III. I thought it was aesthetically beautiful, yet I could not see it as only a beautiful form; I had to acknowledge the content of that form - not paint, but blood and semen. Gross. But why? Anyway, Wendy Steiner, author of one of the books essays, recognizes the tension between form and content in Serranos work. The tension between form and content has been hugely important in my own life as Ive gone along in day to day mundaneness, interacting with other fellow humans. In maybe the past 15 years Ive become more interested in people both in everyday life and in art and photography. A conclusion Ive come to is that people (content) are more important than ideas and beauty (form). Now how do I translate that thinking to the contemplation of art?
Andres Serrano worked at an advertising firm for six months. His experience there help teach him how to make slick, formally beautiful, sellable images. Robert Hobbs, another of the books essayists wrote, ...the beauty of his art relies on the mechanism of advertising to sell repressed ideas, thus forcing viewers to come to terms with advertisings seductive power as well as to cope with difficult subjects. So one is first seduced by the beauty of his photographs, and then made to come to terms with the content. In my opinion, Serrano is using advertising for the good. He wants us to think and question. But what about advertising that doesnt want us to think and question, but simply wants our loyalty? I often wonder what it would have been like to have been surrounded by all the powerful imagery of Nazi propaganda in Germany under Hitler. I think there is something here related to addiction. Addiction to beauty? Keats idea that Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know is a beautiful sentiment, and one I really wanted to believe in my ethereal youth, but life is just not that simple.
Theres so so much here to contemplate. Andres Serrano is a brave man.
Famed 'Piss Christ' Artist Andres Serrano Creates Trump-Themed Art Show
Jeff Hirsch Books
Group 3 Created with Sketch. Group 4 Created with Sketch. New Museum Digital Archive. Andres Serrano: Works Works from the series Nomads Go to Image Record. Heaven and Hell , Go to Image Record. Cabeza de Vaca , Go to Image Record.
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