The Guardian reports that Andres Serrano's controversial Piss Christ "was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an 'anti-blasphemy' campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon:"
The violent slashing of the picture, and another Serrano photograph of a meditating nun, has plunged secular France into soul-searching about Christian fundamentalism and Nicolas Sarkozy's use of religious populism in his bid for re-election next year.
They're not giving in, though:
The gallery director, Eric Mézil, said it would reopen with the destroyed works on show "so people can see what barbarians can do". He said there had been a kind of "inquisition" against the art work.
In a statement, he said the movement against Piss Christ had started at the time of President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party's controversial debate on religion and secularism in France. At a record low in the polls before next year's presidential election, Sarkozy has been accused of using anti-Muslim and extreme-right rhetoric to appeal to voters...
Here's the original photo,
and here's a look at the vandalized image:
Another print of the work was attacked in 1997 by teenagers in Melbourne and another in 2007 by neo-Nazis in Sweden.
Glenn Beck claimed that "four people from an anti-Christian group" did the deed, but this it yet another example of his right-wing reality inversion--as noted above, the perpetrators were actually Catholic fundamentalists. MediaMatters snarkily concluded that "it's refreshing to see Beck stand up for freedom of expression, even if it was by accident."