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Russell Young


MLK Jr. Original, 2004
Acrylic paint screen print on somerset paper
44 1/2 x 35 in. ( 113 x 88.9 cm)
Edition of 50

Price: $2,400

Martin Luther King, Jr. was photographed by Alabama cops following his February 1956 arrest during the Montgomery bus boycotts. The historic mug shot, taken when King was 27, was discovered in July 2004 by a deputy cleaning out a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department storage room. It is unclear when the notations DEAD and 4-4-68 were written on the picture.

Pig Portraits is about the glamour in the dark side of crime, fame, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Culled from Police booking photographs commonly called Mug Shots, the colorful collection of Young’s ‘Pig Portraits’ subtly question the nature of photography, portraiture and the double-edged sword of celebrity itself. Juxtaposed against his earlier portraits, these images are sometimes considered ‘anti-celebrity’, when in fact, they create a bold tribute, demonstrating a youth and rebellion that we can all relate to and appreciate.