Mark Morrisroe (1959 - 1989) will likely go down in art history as one of the most amazingly odd and gifted 'outsiders' of his time. His own biography seems closer to fiction than fact: a runaway kid at age thirteen, he survived the streets as a hustler, performed as a drag queen, was involved in punk journalism, and eventually Art School. His career as an artist was only a brief ten years but in that time he gained international recognition as an artist unafraid to to try anything in the name of art.
This excellent book documents the facts of his life as well as the myths of his life, and provided the reader with page after page of his polaroid photographs of lovers, friends, street people, hustlers and any model he found controversial or simply interesting. Here also are the 'self portraits' that are actually radiographs of his body, many depicting the bullet lodged near his spine - a remembrance of his being shot by a john. His work in the art world was all embracing of the subcultures he explored and the writing that accompanies the many images in this book by Stuart Comer (as well as the comments and labors of editors Beatrix Ruf and Thomas Seelig) carefully explore the variations in Morrisroe's photographic output - the so called 'marginalia' of Morrisroe's silver prints and cyanotypes. Altogether this monograph provides a tremendous amount of information and atmosphere of the 1980s, a time forever altered by cutting-edge artists, sexual freedom, and the plague of AIDS which claimed Morrisroe's life far too soon. Grady Harp, March 11
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