Last week at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) 40th Anniversary Hall of Fame Benefit, artist Eric Fischl was given the job of introducing Andres Serrano. I liked so much what he said about Serrano’s work that I cornered him in the lobby and asked him if I could possibly get a copy of his remarks, at which point, he pulled the speech from his coat pocket and handed it to me.
This is the part that jumped out at me:
“. . . What I have realized about his work is this: There is within his work a dialectical tension between the elemental nature of the body and systems of socialization and belief which try to deny or suppress it.
Sexual needs, desires of the flesh, semen, blood, excrement, and ultimately death are immutable facts of the body. It is at this intersection where the internal necessity of the body interfaces with the external world of socialization that Serrano places his camera. What can be changed (taboos, conformity, embarrassment, shame) he satirizes. But what cannot be changed, Serrano elevates to the aesthetic realm of shockingly beautiful.”
About NYFA :
The New York Foundation for the Arts’ mission is to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives.
NYFA does so many things for artists, one cannot name them all. I participated in their MARK Program, which is a career enhancement program. They also give fellowship grants to artists and SOS grants for particular projects. To really understand what they do spend some time perusing their website: www.nyfa.org