“That’s what happens when you do work that is emotionally provocative,” the American artist Andres Serrano has said, “it polarizes people on both sides of the fence.” Serrano is famous for tackling religious and social issues head on. In 1987, he submerged a plastic crucifix in a glass of his own urine, photographed it, titled the work Piss Christ, and caused an uproar. That was over 30 years ago, but Serrano’s new works are no less provocative. This new series of 30 photographs zooms in on historical symbols of racism in the United States. Serrano’s subjects are artifacts of Jim Crow “infamy” (KKK hoods) and blackface caricature (corn whisky, rag dolls, sheet music)—images that wormed their way into every facet of American life. —E.C.
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