Until now the work of American photographer Mark Morrisroe has mostly been exhibited and discussed in connection with his famous Boston colleagues and friends Nan Goldin and David Armstrong. Influential in the development of the 1970s punk scene in Boston and the art world boom of the mid-to-late-80s in New York, Morrisroe candidly shot images of lovers, friends, hustlers and New York scenes. With a tragic life story that ended at the early age of 30 due to AIDS – Morrisroe was born to a drug-addicted mother, fled home and began hustling at 15, and was shot in the back at 17 – he often drew on his life experiences, incorporating them in his work up until his death. Experimenting with different photographic techniques and film, Polaroid figured heavily in Morrisroe’s work, especially as a documentation of his increasingly emaciated and decaying body during his last days. In the three years leading up to his death he increasingly worked in the dark room using pages from porno magazines and X-ray images of himself as negatives. Morrisroe’s grainy and muted photographs are intimate and deeply personal. Often featuring handwritten scrawls alongside them, there is an autobiographical feel to the images that vividly captures his world through the eye of his lens.
Text by Lucia Davies
Mark Morrisroe, the exhibition runs from 27 November 2010 – 13 February 2011 at Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Mark Morrisroe, the book is published at the end of November by JRP Ringier. The first comprehensive monograph on Morrisroe’s work it has been created in collaboration with the Morrisroe Estate by the Ringier Collection.