Decades-old Serrano crucifix photo sparks debate in New York - New York News

Decades-old Serrano crucifix photo sparks debate in New York

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Is it art or is it offensive? 

Several New Yorkers spoke out Friday about a photograph set to go on display at an art gallery in Midtown next week.

Many say the photo crosses the line of taste.

The picture by Andres Serrano first sparked outrage in New York City in 1989. It is about to touch off nerves once again when it returns to New York.

Fox 5 has chosen not to show the photograph because so many have found it offensive.

The picture is of a crucifix submerged in the artist's urine.

Gallery owner Edward Tyler Nahem said the artist intended to engage the viewer both visually and intellectually.

But Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said it is just inflammatory, particularly at a time when groups in the Middle East are rebelling against anti-Islamic imagery.

Donohue said he plans to hold a demonstration denouncing the photo when the exhibit opens on Thursday of next week.

But for some, the discussion and debate are what art is all about.

In a statement Friday, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato said in part "the piece is just as deplorable and despicable now as it was in 1989… is that really what the gallery considers art?"

The gallery owner said freedom of expression is important to democracy and security will be stepped up next week.

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