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:

Artist Title Year Description Feces Urine Blood Vomit Semen Other
Piero Manzoni Artist's Shit (Italian: "Merda d'artista") 1961 Canned and sold 90 cans of his own excrement to be sold for their weight in gold Yes
Andy Warhol Oxidations series 1977 Invited friends to urinate onto a canvas of metallic copper pigments, so that the uric acid would oxidize into abstract patterns.[1] Yes Yes
Elito Circa Love and Life artwork series, A Thousand and One Lives and Pacquiao Hearted Fist[2] 1982 He incorporates some strands of his hairs in his painting and signing his drawing using his own blood to authenticate the artworks and later explore and experiment it as a medium in paintings.[3][4] Yes Human Hair
Andres Serrano Piss Christ and various other works 1987 Piss Christ, a controversial photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine
Various other photos featuring the use of urine, feces, blood, semen and human milk
Yes Yes Yes Yes Human milk
Marc Quinn Self 1991, recast 1996 A frozen cast of the artist's head made entirely of his own blood Yes
Noritoshi Hirakawa The Home-Coming of Navel Strings 2004 An 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[5] Yes
Helen Chadwick Piss Flowers 1991–92 Twelve 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 Lee 1990 Performances involving feces, blood and vomit Yes Yes Yes
Chris Ofili Various paintings 1992 Paintings using of elephant dung Yes
Hermann Nitsch Das Orgien Mysterien Theater 1962–1998 Uses urine, feces, blood and more in their ritual performances Yes Yes Yes
Franko B 1990 Blood letting performances Yes
James R Ford Bogey Ball 2002–2004 Dried nasal mucus
Phil Hansen The Value of Blood 2006 Using 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 bandages Yes
Jordan Eagles Exhibiting in New York City and Chicago galleries, the artists encases cow blood in clear layers of synthetic resin for a few years[6][7][8] Yes
Fox Bronte 2012 Made 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.[9] Yes Yes Yes Yes pubic hair
Pete Doherty Painted with blood.[10] Yes
Marcel Duchamp Paysage fautif ("Faulty Landscape") 1946

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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oxidations & Abstractions". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Artist uses own blood, hair in paintings". The Philippine Star. Philippine Star. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Ripley's Believe It or Not". Ripley's Believe It or Not. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Ecija folk artist paints Pacquiao using his own blood". Manila Bulletin Newspaper. 2015. p. 15. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  5. ^ Searle, Adrian (2004-10-19). "Her Dark Materials". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  6. ^ ""New York" magazine article about Jordan Eagles' art". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  7. ^ Brown, Mark. ""Wired" magazine article about Jordan Eagles' BRAC (BloodResinACrylic) paintings". Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  8. ^ "Baltimore City Paper article re Jordan Eagles' blood art". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Pete Doherty's blood art". Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  11. ^ Fusco, Coco (Fall 1991). "Shooting the Klan: An Interview with Andres Serrano". Community Arts Network. High Performance Magazine. 
  12. ^ "International Air Transit Association page on DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations)". Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  13. ^ [2]