Mark Morrisroe: From This Moment On is the first comprehensive exhibition of the late photographer's work shown in the United States. Born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1959, Morrisroe spent time as a teen hustler before attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1977 to 1981 and moving to New York City in the mid 1980s. He was a member of the "Boston School" group of photographers (including Nan Goldin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jack Pierson) and was a former paramour of Pierson's. From This Moment On, on view at Soho's Artists Space, features a diverse selection of works by Morrisroe including Polaroid shots of himself and his friends and lovers, hand-painted prints, photograms, and cyanotypes. "Presenting the post-punk scenes in Boston and New York through a lens of vivid and romantic degradation and decay," Morrisroe found inspiration in the "drag, cabaret, club and drug scenes," capturing himself and his cool, young subjects in "searing and frank portrayals of the display of selfhood, sexuality, illness and death," (from the exhibit's press release).
Morrisroe staged his shoots in ordinary environments like his bedroom, various apartments, night clubs, and many of his shots look uncannily contemporary—as if you could find the exact characters from these works taken in 70's and 80's walking around in the East Village or Williamsburg tomorrow. Morrisroe is definitely the predecessor to Ryan McGinley, Jeremy Kost, and all the young contemporary photographers who snap pics of their trendy friends playing, partying and being fabulous. Morrisroe was also apparently way ahead of all today's gossip bloggers—Issue 4 of his and friend Lynelle White's hand-written gossip 'zine Dirt from 1976 is on display and it's chockful of snarky dish on celebs. I admittedly stood there and read the issue cover to cover.
Morrisroe died in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 24, 1989 of AIDS-related complications. Though tragically cut short, the aritst's life and those of his many friends were vividly chronicled in his captivating photographs. Learn more at artistsspace.org. Through May 1st.