At least you can say that he has a completely different approach to his subjects than any other of his colleagues. Most of the time hechoses a highly controversial subject. This differs from sex to the morgue, but most of the time the result is “shocking”.
Taschen made an excellent book titled AMERICA with Serrano and it is one of the books i keep for my own collection. A little search resulted in enough copies for the collector to add this to his or her collection, but there is another one… a much harder to find book which was published with the Groninger Museum exhibition A History of Andres Serrano/ A HISTORY OF SEX in 1997. The design was done by Swip Stolk ( the house designer at that time ) and blown up pictures from the exhibited collection were used as posters in the street. One of them ( a girl peeing in a mans mouth) hit the street , but was removed a couple of days later , because it was a little bit too shocking. Still the result of this publicity campaign was that the Groninger Museum registered a record number of people, who visited this exhibition. The catalogue sold out within a few weeks, with no reprint and has become one of the most searched for catalogues of the Groninger Museum…..and www.ftn-books.com luckily
has one copy available.
The text in the Taschen book on Serrano is :
Even though I consider myself a conceptual artist, I am a traditionalist when it comes to photography. I like to use film and shoot straight. No technical gimmicks or special effects. What you see is what I saw when I looked though the camera. If I’ve dazzled you with lights and colors, it’s because I’ve dazzled you with lights and colors. Ideas are more important than effects. And effects are always better when they’re real. In Lori And Dori, for instance, the conjoined sisters are dressed like fairy tale princesses evoking a dreamy and surreal landscape of the mind. But they’re real. Other times I have to make things look real, even if they’re not. In White Nigger, a man is made Black through make-up, while a child is “hung” with a harness. Ezra Pound once said, “Make it new.” I do. And make it real, too.
The trick is not so much coming up with ideas, as how to make them work. When I first tried to photograph my ejaculations, for instance, I kept shooting and missing. After about eight times of getting back black film I realized that I needed a motor drive on my camera. I would start shooting film before I felt myself coming, and was able to shoot a roll of film in seconds. Invariably, there would be one shot, and one shot only, of my ejaculate. In Vagina Dentata (Vagina with Teeth) the teeth-they were shark’s teeth-kept falling out. I had to keep pushing them in to keep them from coming out. After a while, they stayed in place. When the shoot was over, I tried to get them out, but they were stuck. I then realized that the glue that kept them in place was dried menstrual blood.
–Andres Serrano, Reprinted from an interview with Julie Ault for “America and other Work by Andres Serrano” published by Taschen.