Warhol, Avedon and Marilyn in London

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‘Warhol Avedon’, a new exhibition combining the works of pop artist Andy Warhol and photographer Richard Avedon, is on display until April 23 at The Gagosian in Britannia St, London (King’s Cross/St Pancras area.) Ash Moore reviews the exhibit for The 405, exploring the different ways in which Warhol and Avedon approached Marilyn as a celebrity subject. (The exhibition is also covered in Harper’s Bazaar‘s UK March edition.)

Marilyn (1962) portrays the superstar in a deadpan expressionless aesthetic. It is the commentary rather than the portrait that seeps through and Warhol’s darker fascination with both her mortal death and her death of self is disclosed. The cheapening of her image through serialization and reproduction is a statement made by Warhol about the nature of society and the way personas could be marketed and consumed like products…

Unlike Warhol’s assembly line reproductions, Avedon set out to capture the genuine sentiments of celebrities. This is entirely poised in his portrait of Monroe in Marilyn Monroe, actress, New York, May 6 (1957). The comparison between the two sets of work is without precedent. In Avedon’s portrait, we see a more vulnerable or innocent looking Monroe, a side to her that wasn’t necessarily depicted in the public domain.”

Thanks to Fraser Penney

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