He is an artist, a photographer and provocateur - known for creating controversy through his use of such unsavory elements as feces and bodily fluids in his work.
And now Andres Serrano has a new portrait to unveil – one of the last-known photographs of the late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein – part of an exhibit of Serrano’s work called ‘Infamous’ at the Fotografiska museum in New York City.
“The day Jeffrey Epstein came in for his portrait, which was four months before he died, he looked to me like he always looked - meaning like a guy who is basically having a good time and didn't have a care in the world.”
Epstein killed himself in August of 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His suicide at age 66 came a little over a month after the well-connected money manager was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. He had pleaded not guilty.
In the color close-up portrait, Epstein is looking off to the left, his head turned so that the right side of his face is lit, showing what appears to be a relaxed, close-mouthed smile. His gray hair and beard are close-cropped, similar to how they looked in a law enforcement shot from March of 2017 when Epstein was forced to register as a sex offender.
Serrano told Reuters he had a very superficial acquaintance with Epstein. Epstein gave Serrano a statue of the Madonna in exchange for taking his portrait. It’s part of a pair of religious statues – the other being St. John – that Serrano now owns.
“You know, it’s a nice picture of Jeffrey. A very nice picture. And, you know, it makes me think that maybe there was a part of Jeffrey Epstein that was a good person. That part has been forgotten, all but forgotten. And I'm not defending Jeffrey Epstein by any means. I'm just saying that if you met him and you didn't know who Jeffrey Epstein was, you'd think he was a regular guy.”
Epstein has been linked to several powerful people, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, who also had his portrait taken by Serrano, in 2004.
The Epstein and Trump photos hang in the same room in the exhibit, which opens Friday and runs until March 14th.