Mark Morrisroe (American, January 10, 1959–July 24, 1989) was a photographer and performance artist known for his work during the Boston punk movement of the 1970s, and for his work in Manhattan during the 1980s. Morrisroe was born in Malden, MA. At the age of 15, he left home and worked the streets for a period of time, during which time he was shot in the back. His experience and memory of the shooting was often put into his artwork. At the age of 17, Morrisroe decided to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, where he befriended upcoming artists such as David Armstrong (American, b.1954), Nan Goldin (American, b.1953), and Philip-Lorca diCorica (American, b.1951). While attending school, Morrisroe founded Dirt Magazine with a friend.

He graduated from school with honors and also received the 5th year award. Morrisroe began his photography career upon receiving a Polaroid Land camera, which he used to create the technique of mounting enlarged double negatives of the same subject on top of one another to make what he called sandwich prints. Morrisroe used photographs as a way to create extremely personal pieces of art. He would write on his photographs, as well as color them, and manipulate various parts of them to create something completely unique. Many of his photographs included various parts of his life, such as his friends, his lovers, and landscapes. Morrisroe also used Super-8 film stills in his art.

In the early 1980s, Morrisroe shot a series of Super-8 films entitled The Laziest Girl in Town, Hello from Bertha, and Nymph-O-Maniac. During the mid-1980s, he moved to Manhattan and regularly exhibited his artwork at the Pat Hearn Gallery. Some of Morrisroe's more notable works include the photographs Self Portrait with Broken Finger, Self Portrait (To Brent), and Paul Fitzgerald (Back). Morrisroe died from HIV complications on July 24, 1989. At the time of his death, more than 2,000 Polaroid pictures were found in his home. Morrisroe's ashes were scattered in McMinnville, OR.

Timeline

1959
Born: in Malden, Massachusetts on January 10th
1977–1981
Attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1985
Moved to New York
1989
Died: in Jersey City, NJ on July 24th

Exhibitions

2012
Mark Morrisroe, Villa Stuck, München (solo)
2011
Mark Morrisroe: From This Moment On, Artists Space, New York, NY (solo)
2011
Mark Morrisroe (1959-1989), ClampArt, New York, NY
2010–2011
Mark Morrisroe, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (solo)
1997
Mark Morrisroe, 1959-1989, Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany (solo)
1997
My Life: Mark Morrisroe, Polaroids 1977-1989, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1989
Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing, Artists Space, New York, NY
1985
Split Vision, Artists Space, New York, NY