Category Archives: Art and Photography

‘Marilyn: Character Not Image’

Marilyn at the 'East of Eden' premiere in 1955 - photo and manipulation for Arthur Fellig, aka 'Weegee'
Marilyn at the ‘East of Eden’ premiere in 1955 – photo and manipulation for Arthur Fellig, aka ‘Weegee’

Marilyn: Character Not Image, a new exhibition curated by none other than the multi-talented actress, comedienne and host of TV’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg – a woman who has consistently defied stereotyping throughout her long career – will open at Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary on September 25, through to October 22.

weegee_10327_1993_8+2“This show presents a different side to the legendary actress: behind the glamour was a vulnerable, sensitive, and ambitious young woman who spent time writing poems and diary entries to self-analyze, understand, and reassure herself. In these writings, she craves love and friendship, and battles with ongoing pain, heartbreak, and disappointment. She attempts to understand the world on her terms, tries to accept her insecurities and fears, and to become a better artist.

Milton Greene was a personal friend who constructed many famous images of Marilyn the star, but he also took many intimate photographs of Marilyn the person. The images here demonstrate her sweetness, humor, and impatience: with husband Arthur Miller, talking to animals, receiving directions for a photoshoot, taking a summer dip. The images by Weegee reveal a sly complicity between subject and photographer: his dark-room distorted imagery pokes fun at the unreal and absurd facets of the Hollywood industry, of which Marilyn was keenly aware.

Also on view is the dress she wore during the unforgettable 1962 performance singing ‘Happy Birthday’ for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, perhaps the most significant moment of her career, the crystallization of the persona she was continually creating since she dreamed of becoming an actress as a little girl. The dress and the drawings are on loan from Julien’s Auctions’ forthcoming November events.

‘The image of Marilyn Monroe the icon endures and strengthens as time goes by, but her personal life remains a mystery,’ says Whoopi Goldberg. ‘With this exhibition I wanted to show a glimpse of the woman behind the icon using, before now, never-before-seen images, some of her personal writings, and some pieces of her artwork.'”

Thanks to Edgar Freire

Miss America: Carol Koontz and Marilyn

Marilyn with Carol Koontz, 1952
Marilyn with Carol Koontz, 1952

Carol Koontz, a baton and drum corps leader who met Marilyn (in her Grand Marshal capacity) while competing at the 1952 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, has died in Ohio aged 83, reports CantonRep.com.

“For decades, Koontz shared her skills in baton-twirling, music, and pageantry with thousands of local youngsters in Stark and Tuscarawas counties. She started the troupe in 1962 and was still giving weekly baton lessons until about two weeks ago, her daughter Holly Flowers said.

Koontz began teaching the baton in 1948. In 1952, the Tuscarawas County native won the Miss Dennison and Miss Ohio pageants and competed in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. During her talent portion in the national contest, Koontz played a classical piece on the clarinet, then twirled two ‘fire’ batons.

She also had her picture taken with Monroe, who was a special guest.

‘My grandma (Carol’s mother) happened to be in the restroom when Marilyn Monroe was in there, and Marilyn asked her how she kept her hair curly in humid weather,’ Flowers said with a laugh. ‘My grandmother was giving Marilyn Monroe hair tips.’

Years later, Koontz led her troupe on the famed boardwalk at a Miss America commemoration event, her daughter noted.”

Thanks to Sparkling Diamond at Marilyn Remembered

Will Marilyn Return ‘Forever’ to Palm Springs?

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Last seen in Bendigo Park, Australia, Seward Johnson’s giant sculpture, ‘Forever Marilyn’, may soon make a permanent return to Palm Springs, California, due to its immense popularity with local residents and tourists during a two-year stay from 2012-14, as Palm Springs Life reports.

“The sculpture, which is currently owned by the New Jersey-based Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc., would potentially reside in the City’s proposed new downtown park currently under construction.

P.S. Resorts is currently negotiating a title sponsorship agreement with the RumChata Foundation to cover half the cost of bringing the sculpture back to Palm Springs and working on a plan to acquire the additional funds needed for the purchase through private donations.

Marilyn Monroe has a rich history in Palm Springs. She once owned a home in the city’s Movie Colony neighborhood and she was first discovered by her Hollywood agent at the historic Racquet Club.

‘Forever Marilyn was a wildly successful tourism booster for our destination,’ according to Mary Jo Ginther, Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. ‘Marilyn has traveled to other cities, but no other city has embraced her with as much love and appreciation as Palm Springs. We are thrilled she may soon return again to forever become a part of the magic that makes our city like no place else.’

To donate, visit www.DonateForeverMarilyn.com to make a contribution.”

Halsman’s Marilyn in Barcelona

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Spanish fans may be interested to know that the touring exhibit, Philippe Halsman: Astonish Me! is now on display at the CaixaForum Barcelona until November 6, as Samuel Spencer reports for BlouArtInfo. (I have corrected some minor errors in the extract below.)

“Featuring 300 photographs and documents from the photographer’s extensive career, Astonish Me! is the first Spanish retrospective of the American photographer [born and raised in Austria] who, among other achievements, undertook 110 covers for LIFE magazine. Halsman also popularized the portrait concept of people jumping — at the time a revolutionary idea that has since become a photographic cliché, unavoidable at any graduation ceremony.

Termed ‘jumpology’ by Halsman, jumping was used by him as a psychological tool. He believed that it showed people without inhibitions; as he once said, when someone jumps, “the mask falls.” As such, Halsman saw it as a crucial tool for photographing celebrities, allowing him to cut through the façade of their media image.

Among the jumpologists Halsman shows in the exhibition are Marilyn Monroe, who he tried to convince for three years to jump for a shoot before she finally agreed. Monroe jumped 200 times for the resulting image, which became iconic when it appeared on the LIFE cover in 1957 [actually, it was in 1959.]

Julien’s Adds Frieda Hull Collection to November Sale

Members of the Monroe Six with Marilyn on James Haspiel's birthday, 1959. (Frieda Hull is pictured kneeling directly below MM.)
Members of the Monroe Six with Marilyn on James Haspiel’s birthday, 1959. (Frieda Hull is pictured kneeling directly below MM.)

A trove of rare photos from the estate of Frieda Hull – a former member of the Monroe Six, the group of loyal fans who befriended Marilyn after her move to New York in 1955 – has been added to the upcoming Julien’s Auctions sale, set for November and also including items from the David Gainsborough Roberts Collection and Marilyn’s own personal archive, as Just Collecting reports. (This follows the sale of fellow Monroe Sixer Jimmy Collins‘ photo collection at Heritage Auctions earlier this year.)

“Hull’s job as an airline employee also enabled her to follow Monroe on the West Coast, and throughout her life she built up an archive of rare photographs spanning the actress’ entire career.

In addition to the photographs that members of the ‘Six’ took themselves, Hull’s collection features a wide range of previously unseen images. They include unseen colour photos of Monroe as she sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden; slides of her on location filming the iconic subway skirt-blowing scene from The Seven Year Itch; and images of her and husband Arthur Miller after the premiere of Some Like It Hot in 1959.

In all, the Frieda Hull collection includes 550 colour and black & white candid photographs, more than 150 slides, close to 750 movie stills, publicity photos and lobby cards, and even personal home movies of Monroe leaving her New York apartment in 1958.

Aside for the photographic archive, Hull’s personal collection also includes memorabilia such as locks of Monroe’s hair, a scarf gifted by Monroe herself, Hull’s original ticket and program to the 1962 JFK Madison Square Garden gala, and a Gladstone Hotel menu autographed by Monroe and Miller.”

Just four years younger than Monroe, Frieda Hull died in Las Vegas in 2014, aged 83. You can read her obituary here. And for an exclusive sneak preview of the Frieda Hull collection, visit Scott Fortner’s blog here.

“It was an absolute thrill to work with Julien’s on the Frieda Hull Collection.  I was repeatedly delighted and dumbstruck over the photos in this archive, many of which I’d never seen.  Fans will be overjoyed and amazed with these new unpublished images of Marilyn.  Below are some shots from my study as part of my sorting process, which was no small task considering the sheer volume of photos.  All totaled, an unprecedented 142 lots of photos will be offered in the auction, the majority of which were taken by members of the Monroe Six.”

David Bromley: Painting Marilyn

Marilyn by David Bromley, after Kashio Aoki's 1952 photo
Marilyn by David Bromley, after Kashio Aoki’s 1954 photo

‘Marilyn at 90: A Tribute to David Bromley’ features a number of paintings by the Australian artist, and is currently running at the Andrew Weiss Gallery in Los Angeles alongside another Bromley exhibition, ‘L.A. Women’, until September 1.

Mixed media print, based on another Aoki photo
Mixed media print of Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio, based on another Aoki photo
This David Bromley painting is inspired by a Milton Greene portrait of Marilyn
This David Bromley painting is inspired by a Milton Greene portrait of Marilyn
Another Greene-inspired painting
Another Greene-inspired painting

 

Photography Magazines Celebrate Marilyn

2016 Prof Photog July

Two British photography magazines are currently featuring Marilyn within their pages. Professional Photography, a monthly, looks at Douglas Kirkland’s photos of Marilyn in its July issue. Meanwhile, the weekly Amateur Photographer (issue 09/07/2016),  looks at Andre de Dienes’ work with a young Marilyn and other ‘California Girls’, on display until July 30 in New York.

2016 Am Photog

Thanks to Fraser Penney

Warhol’s Marilyn (and More) in Portland

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In late 1945, nineteen year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty visited her mother in Portland, Oregon, while on a road trip with photographer Andre de Dienes. More than seventy years later, Portland Art Museum will host the largest-ever Andy Warhol exhibit in the region from October through December – with a 1967 screen-print of Marilyn among the artefacts, reports Architectural Digest.