new-york

Andres Serrano

Stux Gallery

Though at first Andres Serrano’s new photographs seem a far cry from his controversial Piss Christ, 1987, they ultimately have the same socially critical implications, and, more importantly, they employ the same high-key color, here refined to a new intensity. Serrano squarely faces the bottom-line issue of political art—how to reconcile esthetic and social awareness—and the results are brilliant.

A number of images of the Imperial Wizard and Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan are presented in one room, and a series of photographs of homeless people occupies a larger space. To my mind, Serrano’s use of these latter figures is not dissimilar to Velázquez’s use of dwarfs. He elevates them; that is, he treats them as highly individualized people rather than as burdensome social objects. He particularizes them, gives them grandeur, even nobility. He does this largely through the use of vivid

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