During summer 1962, Lawrence Schiller, a 24 year old photographer is contacted by the French magazine Paris Match to make photos of Marilyn Monroe whose career was falling off at that time during the shooting of the film Somethings Got to Give. The photographer buckled down to the task without knowing that he immortalized the actress for the last time. Fifty years after, the worship of one of the more famous heroine of the 20th century didnt lose its intensity.
Indeed, 2012 seems to be Marilyn Monroes year. First, her famous white dress was sold in auctions. Then, last March, a few unseen photographs of the star have been disclosed. In April, the movie My week with Marilyn will come out and the Cannes Festival have chosen the iconographical image of the star for its 65th edition. More than never, the icon of the American movies seems more than ever present in the public consciousness, even fifty years after the day she died on August 5th, 1962.
The Marilyns exhibition of Gallery Taglialatella
focuses on the popular affection and the worship generated by Marilyn Monroe. It tries to show what are the basis of the extraordinary longevity and modernity of Marilyn Monroes myth, emblem of the 1960s and Pop Art icon, particularly with Andy Warhols serigraphy considered as a figurehead of the cultural American identity. Even after her death, the images of the movie star are still mystical and fascinating.
Concerned about women representation in art and particularly Pop Art, Taglialatella Gallery tries to catch the beauty, the sensuality and the vulnerability of the American icon, considered as the sexiest woman of the 20th century. Without trying to solve the enigma of the complex identity of Marilyn, this exhibition offers an intimate image of the actress who knew - with her style, her movements and her physique how to be glamour, becoming a popular and idyllic icon, simple and classy at the same time.
The exhibition presents the image of Marilyn Monroe seen by Pop Art artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Mel Ramos, as well as contemporary artists like Russell Young and Mr. Brainwash, and finally with the contemporary photographer Lawrence Schiller.
Marilyns numerous faces
For the first time, the Taglialatella Gallery presents originals photographs of Marilyn Monroe, taken by Lawrence Schiller. Its the first naked pictures of the actress since the nude calendar she made at the beginning of her career. At that time, Lawrence Schiller didnt know that he had in his possession the last pictures of the star alive, expressing her joie de vivre and using her charm on the audience. One of the photography showing the actress on the edge of a swimming pool, asking the spectator to join her, was particularly striking. The shooting took place four months before her death without presuming such a tragedy.
Marilyn was often described as a shy person by her close friends, but one day of February 1954, she sang Bye Bye Baby and Diamonds are Girls Best Friend in South Korea, in front of 10, 000 GIs. The work of Russell Young Marilyn in Korea immortalized this special moment. During four days, the star raised the soldiers spirits who worshipped her.
True popular legend, Marilyn Monroe could only inspired Pop Art artists who totally concealed the vulnerable women and preferred to represent the star in black and white or with a lot of colors, concentrating on her blonde hair, her curved eyelashes and her purple mouth.
The artist Mel Ramos offers his own interpretation of Marilyn and pays tribute to her sensuality, without going vulgar. The artist transforms the representation of the pin-up of the sixties putting the faces of movies stars on every days women bodies. And following the example of other actress like Jane Russell, Marylin Monroe, the famous American movie star, cant be exempted.
Robert Indiana is on the contrary, more interesting by her death. Indeed, The Metamorphosis of Norma Jean (1997) plays with numerology with a repetition of the numbers 2 and 6, reminding that Marilyn was born in 1926 and found death in 1962.
A portrait of Marilyn always leads to Andy Warhol. Who could empower the icon of Marilyn better than the Pope of Pop Art? When he was young, Warhol was fascinated by stars that represented the American success story. Norma Jean Baker, a battered child who became a sex symbol, or Elvis Presley, truck driver and then singer, loved by a whole generation
.However, for the artist, behind all these stars hides some kind of tragedy.
Warhol, fascinated by these destinies, had always favored the representation of glamour and shiny as a tentative to ward off bad luck. In 1962, the artist paid tribute to the strange death of Marilyn, with a different aim: For me, Monroe is like everyday people. And if you want to know if painting her in such bright colors was a symbolic action, Ill tell you this: The beauty was the most important to me, and she was very beautiful; and pretty and bright colors are beautiful as well. Thats all. Thats almost the whole story. He said. With a simple poster of the movie Niagara (1953), Andy Warhol knew how to turn Marilyn Monroe in an emblematic figure of the Pop Art movement, without considering the star as a manufactured object.
The exhibition is also about famous people who met the star during a shooting, a party and who also had a « Pop instant »: Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Elvis Presley or Jane Fonda, met during the courses of Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
Gallery Taglialatella pays tribute to this emblematic and timeless icon of Pop Art, questioning the public at the same time: what would have been the Pop Art influence without Marilyn ?