Greer on Warhol’s Marilyn

The feminist author and art critic, Germaine Greer, has analysed Andy Warhol’s Marilyn in The Guardian.

“Drawing and painting are fun, and most people like doing them, especially if they are considered good at them, but they are not art until they acquire separateness. A recognisable likeness of a celebrity will be artless, unless it acquires its own position in relation to all the other images of that celebrity and celebrity itself. Andy Warhol¬†refined the image of Marilyn Monroe till it was almost insubstantial, a hieroglyph in place of a likeness, with neither age nor identity nor expression. It may seem the diametric opposite of the most famous portraits of history, but it isn’t. The portraits that survive have outlived their subjects and taken on a life the subjects could never claim. Those pictures exist in their own versions of the¬†wandjina/Warhol zone.”

In her most famous book, The Female Eunuch (1970), Greer wrote of Marilyn:

“It still comes as a surprise to most people to learn that Marilyn Monroe was a great actress, most pitifully to Marilyn herself, which is one of the reasons why she is dead.”


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