“Mattress Flip” is a bestseller. At Under I-95, every print was sold for $5 each, while larger copies produced with fancier inks and papers have been sold through the Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York City for up to $3,000. A giant vinyl version of the photograph hangs inside Lincoln Financial Field.
This week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will drape a 70-foot-wide version of “Mattress Flip” across the pillars atop its famous steps. The image of the boys playing will announce the opening of Zoe Strauss: Ten Years.
It will also serve as a memorial.
The name of the boy in Strauss’ photo, the one watching the action, is Lawrence Edward Rose Jr., but everyone called him Boo. On June 17, 2007, six years after Strauss transformed his smiling face into a work of art, Boo was shot on Seventh and Mifflin streets, three blocks away from where he and his cousin, Botty (pronounced “Boo-dee”), flipped on mattresses that summer afternoon. The first bullet entered Boo’s stomach; the second, his knee. Boo died on July 12, the 214th homicide out of that year’s 392. He was 19 years old.