Andres Serrano & Christopher Reeve: Superman Portrait

Some time after his paralysis (following a polo injury) Christopher Reeve was visited at his Connecticut home by the renegade artist and photographer Andres Serrano (most notorious for his "Piss Christ" -- a crucifix in a bottle of urine). Serrano, who had come to make a photographic portrait, carefully broached a delicate subject and suggested that the wheelchair-bound actor don the Superman costume which he had brought along.

"I said, 'We could also just drape it over you,'" Serrano recalled. "I said, 'I only ask you to do this because you'll always be America's hero.' I could see the heaviness that came over his face. He started to say something, then concluded, 'I... can't... go... there.'

Serrano reluctantly shot a stock portrait before heading home. As he hung the costume up in an empty closet, he had a sudden revelation: he had found his portrait.

[Serrano entitled the poignant work Remembrance of Things Past.]

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