Immersion (Piss Christ) is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a small glass tank of the artist’s urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art‘s “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition,which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects.
The work generated a large amount of controversy based on assertions that it was blasphemous.
In 1987, Serrano’s Piss Christ was exhibited at the Stux Gallery in New York and was favorably received. The piece later caused a scandal when it was exhibited in 1989, with detractors, including United States Senators Al D’Amato and Jesse Helms, outraged that Serrano received $15,000 for the work, and $5,000 in 1986 from the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts. Serrano received death threats and hate mail, and he lost grants due to the controversy. Others alleged that the government funding of Piss Christ violated the separation of church and state.