Fundamentalist Catholics Violently Destroy 'Piss Christ'
Andres Serrano's religion-protest piece 'Piss Christ' -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in his urine -- has sparked controversy since its debut in 1987. In an example of how powerful and relevant the work remains, on Palm Sunday a group of violent Fundamentalist Christians stormed the gallery in Avignon, France, where it currently hangs, and destroyed it with hammers. The Guardian:
....on Palm Sunday morning, four people in sunglasses aged between 18 and 25 entered the exhibition just after it opened at 11am. One took a hammer out of his sock and threatened the guards with it. A guard grabbed another man around the waist but within seconds the group managed to take a hammer to the plexiglass screen and slash the photograph with another sharp object, thought to be a screwdriver or ice-pick. They also smashed another work, which showed the hands of a meditating nun.
The gallery director, Eric Mézil, said it would reopen with the destroyed works on show "so people can see what barbarians can do". He said there had been a kind of "inquisition" against the art work.
The act was viewed as a broader protest against Sarkozy, as well, and his use of 'religious populism' for the next election. According to the gallery owner,
"Clearly we saw in Saturday's demonstration that a Catholic fringe wanted to take the president at his word, with extremely violent appeals." He said there was a climate of tension, with protesters insulting museum staff of north African origin. One guard said he heard: "I'm going to pour donkey piss on the Qur'an." An email to the museum talked about "plunging the diary of Anne Frank in urine".
Photos of the destruction are overhere.