Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Two X-Rays of Mark Morrisroe's Chest with Embedded Bullet

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Image of Two X-Rays of Mark Morrisroe's Chest with Embedded Bullet

Two X-Rays of Mark Morrisroe's Chest with Embedded Bullet

20 in. x 15 3/4 in. (50.8 cm x 40.01 cm) each

Medium and Support: Two gelatin silver prints
Credit Line: Purchased as the gift of Louis Wiley, Jr. (PA 1963) and John Clarke Kane, Jr. (PA 1963) in memory of Paul L. Monette (PA 1963) on the occasion of their 50th Reunion, with additional support from the Monette-Horwitz Trust
Accession Number: 2011.25a,b


Born in Malden, Massachusetts to a drug addict mother, Morrisroe was a teenaged street prostitute before attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, and Pat Hearn and becoming part of what is known as the Boston School. An amazingly inventive artist whose work centered on portraits of friends, lovers, prostitutes as well as a large body of self-portraits, Morrisroe died of AIDS in 1989. These two photographs are variations of his self-portraiture. The close up of his face shows a lean, street wise Morrisroe who is also vulnerable and very young. The second is a photograph of two x-rays of Morrisroe’s chest showing a bullet lodged next to his spine. Morrisroe was shot in 1976 by a client while he was working as a prostitute. His doctor advised against surgery, leaving Morrisroe with a bullet in his body for the rest of his life. It is one of the most unusual self-portraits in the Addison collection and a mark both of Morrisroe’s rough life and adventurous, unorthodox approach to art.

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