Andres Serrano, various works / crowbars, axes

In October 2007, a series of works by Andres Serrano were damaged while on view at the Kulturen Gallery in Lund, Sweden. 

According to witnesses, four masked men stormed into the gallery, pushing staff out of the way while chanting, “We don’t support this shit!” They proceeded directly into a darkened gallery space and attacked various works in the exhibition, titled “A History of Sex,” with crowbars and axes. In the end, seven works had been damaged.

The attackers were accompanied by a fifth individual, who documented the attack with a handheld video recorder. The footage was briefly posted on YouTube—the action set to a heavy metal soundtrack,interspersed with close-ups of Serrano’s photographs and lettered commentary in Swedish (“This is art?”)—before being taken down. 

As they fled the gallery, the perpetrators left leaflets that said, “Against decadence and for a healthier culture.” While the leaflets were not attributed to a particular organization, authorities believed the attackers had Neo-Nazi ties.

While the works on view were damaged beyond repair, they were promptly replaced, as Serrano creates all of his works in editions of three. The individuals responsible were never found or charged. 

Christopher Schreck