Andres Serrano, the photographer and artist best known for his controversial 1987 photograph, “Piss Christ,” has turned his attention to the homeless of New York City in a new public art project on display around Washington Square Park next month.
Opening May 19, “Residents of New York” will include portraits of 35 homeless people, and will be on display at the West 4th Street subway station, the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square, LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, and on public phone booths.
“The poor are neither crazy nor mentally disabled,” Serrano, who lives on East 12th Street, wrote in a release of what he hoped people would see in the photographs. “They are people with dreams and aspirations who, for a multitude of personal and external reasons, are living a very difficult situation.”
Serrano first photographed the subject in 1990, when he did a series of studio-style portraits of homeless people in New York City called “Nomads.”
About 21,000 people were in the city’s shelter system in 1990; today that number tops 53,000.
Correction: The original version of this post was revised to correct the number of portraits that will be displayed. Though Serrano took photos of 85 people, only 35 photos will be featured.