Body fluids in art

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An occasional trend in contemporary art is to use body fluids as a medium in art. Examples include:

Piero ManzoniArtist's Shit (Italian: "Merda d'artista")1961Canned and sold 90 cans of his own excrement to be sold for their weight in goldYes
Andy WarholOxidations series1977Invited friends to urinate onto a canvas of metallic copper pigments, so that the uric acid would oxidize into abstract patterns.[1]YesYes
Andres SerranoPiss Christ1987A controversial photograph of a crucifix submerged in urineYes
Marc QuinnSelf1991, recast 1996A frozen cast of the artist's head made entirely of his own bloodYes
Noritoshi HirakawaThe Home-Coming of Navel Strings2004An installation for the 2004 London Frieze Art Fair, which consisted of a young woman who read a novel by Philip Pullman and defecated next to her chair every morning[2]Yes
Helen ChadwickPiss Flowers1991–92Twelve white-enameled bronzes cast from cavities made by urinating in snow (though this might not be characterized as the use of bodily fluids in art, just their use in preparation)Yes
Lennie Lee1990Performances involving feces, blood and vomitYesYesYes
Chris OfiliVarious paintings1992Paintings using of elephant dungYes
Hermann NitschDas Orgien Mysterien Theater1962–1998Uses urine, feces, blood and more in their ritual performancesYesYesYes
Franko B1990Blood letting performancesYes
James R FordBogey Ball2002–2004Dried nasal mucus
Phil HansenThe Value of Blood2006Using 500 millilitres (18 imp fl oz; 17 US fl oz) of his own blood, Hansen to draw a portrait of Kim Jong-il on 6,000 bandagesYes
Jordan EaglesExhibiting in New York City and Chicago galleries, the artists encases cow blood in clear layers of synthetic resin for a few years[3][4][5]Yes
Fox Bronte2012Made videos using feces, blood, vomit and semen to make art. In 2012, he asked his audience to send him their pubic hairs, where he made a portrait of Canadian singer Justin Bieber. He avoids censorship by using humour in his work.[6]YesYesYesYespubic hair
Pete DohertyPainted with blood.[7]Yes
Marcel DuchampPaysage fautif ("Faulty Landscape")1946Yes
Millie Brown (Artist)Vomit Artist2004-presentVomits onto canvas' after drinking food colored soya milkYesYes

Criticism and difficulties[edit]

Depicting objects of popular respect (religious subjects, flags, etc.) in art which includes body fluids can trigger public protests due to such material's historic association with dirtiness. The outcry about the Piss Christ photo is an example.[8]

In addition to the obvious difficulties of preserving perishable material, there can be regulations complicating transport by rail, truck, or aircraft of liquid body fluids due to the fluids' possible classification as dangerous goods.[9] Postal or transportation-security authorities might consider blood, spittle, excrement, etc., to be bio-hazardous substances.

The sale of blood art via eBay is prohibited as eBay prohibits the sale of body parts, and classifies blood art as falling under this heading.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oxidations & Abstractions". Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  2. ^ Searle, Adrian (2004-10-19). "Her Dark Materials". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  3. ^ ""New York" magazine article about Jordan Eagles' art". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  4. ^ Brown, Mark. ""Wired" magazine article about Jordan Eagles' BRAC (BloodResinACrylic) paintings". Retrieved 2011-08-05. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Baltimore City Paper article re Jordan Eagles' blood art". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Pete Doherty's blood art". Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  8. ^ Fusco, Coco (Fall 1991). "Shooting the Klan: An Interview with Andres Serrano". Community Arts Network. High Performance Magazine. 
  9. ^ "International Air Transit Association page on DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations)". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  10. ^ [2]