Category Archives: Art and Photography

Marilyn Goes ‘Blonde’ in London

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Marilyn by Douglas Kirkland (1961)

After ES Updates reported last week of an exhibition featuring Milton Greene and Douglas Kirkland’s photos of Marilyn opening in Amsterdam, comes news of another Greene/Kirkland show, in the UK. As announced by Luxury London, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Starring Marilyn Monroe’ will be on display at the Little Black Gallery on Park Walk, Chelsea, from January 19-February 27, with a selection of prints for sale.

Greene, Kirkland and Marilyn in Amsterdam

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Milton Greene’s 1955 portrait of Marilyn – posing with a girl’s best friend, her dog – graces the January 2016 cover of Focus, a Dutch photography magazine. Inside is a short item about Marilyn Monroe: The Woman Who Made Love to the Camera, an exhibition of images by Greene and Douglas Kirkland, on display at the Eduard Planting Gallery in Amsterdam from January 9-March 5.

Thanks to Sacha and Johann at Immortal Marilyn

Halsman’s Marilyn at the Smithsonian

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Philippe Halsman’s most iconic photo of Marilyn – chosen for her first Life magazine cover in 1952 – has won a Smithsonian Magazine readers’ poll, and will be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, from January-March 2016.

“A portrait of Marilyn Monroe will be installed in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Recognize’ space, Jan. 22, 2016. The museum’s historians and curators selected three actresses’ portraits for voters to choose from—Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe and Mae West—three fan favorites who, despite long acting careers, never received Oscar nominations.

Thousands of votes were cast on Smithsonianmag.com, and Monroe’s portrait received the most votes. Philippe Halsman’s photograph of her will be on view on the ‘Recognize’ wall, near the north entrance of the museum, through March 6, 2016.

Last year, the Portrait Gallery created ‘Recognize’ as an opportunity for people to select what they would like to see on display. Twice a year, the museum presents three portraits, and the public votes for their favorite. In the last round of ‘Recognize,’ voters elected to display a portrait of the baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente by Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris.”

Henri Dauman: Photographing Marilyn

March of Dimes fundraiser, 1958
March of Dimes fashion show, January 1957

Time has published an article about photographer Henri Dauman, whose work graced the pages of Life, Newsweek and the New York Times. Dauman photographed Marilyn at several public events during the late 1950s, mostly in New York. Self-taught, and inspired by cinema, Dauman escaped the holocaust and was orphaned at 13, fleeing France for America. A documentary, Henri Dauman: Looking Up, is currently in the fundraising stage.

The Millers at a preview of 'Some Like it Hot', 1959
The Millers at a preview of ‘Some Like it Hot’, February 1959
'Some Like it Hot' premiere, Chicago (March 1959)
‘Some Like it Hot’ premiere, Chicago (March 1959)
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Named as Best Actress for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ at the David di Donatello Awards, May 1959.

L.A. Artists on Death, JFK … and Marilyn

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In Los Angeles, artists are exploring the death of John F. Kennedy and the women in his life, reports VICE. Perhaps inevitably, Marilyn is a featured subject, although in truth her connection to JFK may be more mythical than real – and after all, she died more than a year before him.

“Painter Rosson Crow’s first foray into filmmaking, for example, is Madame Psychosis Holds a Séance, now on view at LA’s Honor Fraser Gallery through December 19 … Starring Kelly Lynch as a slightly worse-for-the-wear 60s-era singer whose fragile, careworn platinum blonde, red-lipsticked beauty deliberately evokes latter-day Marilyn Monroe, the film shows the existential meltdown of Madame Psychosis upon hearing the news of the death through TV and newspaper. She moves with an awkward, dream-logic elegance through the stages of grief, chain-smoking at Ouija boards, the phonecalls to prove he loved her in real life not only her imagination, the gorgeous, taunting mountain of roses delivered to his widow rather than her own lonely bungalow, that bury her in a nightmare, the creeping in of self-doubt, the descent into madness.”

Meanwhile, cult performance artist Karen Finley has referenced Marilyn in her new show, Love Field (named after the Dallas airport where Kennedy touched down on the day of his murder.) Finley was inspired by Bert Stern’s 1962 photos of Marilyn in a black wig. The images have since been interpreted as a cheeky impersonation of the first lady, Jackie Kennedy – however, there is no evidence that Marilyn intended it as such.

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“Visual, performance, and literary icon of punk-wave feminism Karen Finley was also in LA around the anniversary of the assassination, for both the opening of her painting and drawing show Love Field at Coagula Curatorial, as well as the coinciding inauguration of the Broad Museum’s performance art programs with her seminal work, The Jackie Look … In the Love Field show, Finley brings together paintings and drawings from diverse but interrelated series examining the public rituals Jackie was forced to endure during what ought to have been a time of private grieving … and always, somewhere, the equally haunting phantom of Marilyn Monroe.”

Marilyn by Bert Stern, 1962
Marilyn by Bert Stern, 1962

Milton’s Marilyn in British Columbia

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Canadian superfan Billy Krzemien shared this hauntingly beautiful mural on Immortal Marilyn‘s Facebook group today…

“Proof that our sweet Marilyn is EVERYWHERE….My dear friend Sheila was visiting her brother recently in a small town called, Chetwynd (northern part of our British Columbia), when upon a walk with her friend, spotted this mural painted on a building. Her friend surprisingly had no idea who the subject was (*shocker*), but Sheila sure did…and told her that she knows someone (me), that he was a huge fan/collector, and would love this! I sure do! Sheila believes that it was painted a good number of years ago, as it has been weathering with time and the elements. Sheila says there are many other murals of other subjects painted on buildings there, to deter tagging and grafitti…WORKS, as no one has dared to ruin another artist’s work. Of course if someone defaced this, they’d have to answer to me and a whole army of Marilyn fans! Anyway, I love this mural, inspired by a 1953 photo session, that Marilyn had with photographer Milton H. Greene…Her first with him, for LOOK magazine…and a collaboration that would go from 1953-1957…Sessions that would go on to become some of the most beautiful photos taken of Marilyn, ever!”

Erwitt on Marilyn, and ‘The Misfits’

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In a new interview with the UK Telegraph, Elliott Erwitt recalls photographing Marilyn on the set of The Misfits. ‘She didn’t pay any attention to me and I took a few pictures of her not posing,’ he remarks. ‘I guess it’s unusual to see a movie star without make-up, with their mere essentials.’

Angela Allen, who served as director John Huston’s script advisor for The Misfits, says, ‘I don’t think Elliott played up to people, being as smarmy as some of the others. Especially around Marilyn. I think he was more objective about her.’ The two women did not get along, as Marilyn suspected her husband, Arthur Miller, of being attracted to Angela.

Allen mistakenly states that Erwitt photographed Marilyn on the set of Some Like it Hot, adding, ‘he’d seen what Billy Wilder had had to go through.’ In fact, Erwitt had been on the set of The Seven Year Itch, Wilder’s earlier, more harmonious collaboration with Marilyn. He did not photograph her in Some Like it Hot.

Last Week for Sam Shaw in Portugal

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If you’re in Portugal this week, don’t miss the chance to see Sam Shaw: 60 Years of Photography, on display at the Cascais Cultural Center until Sunday, November 8.

The next stop in this touring exhibition will be Germany – check the Shaw Family Archives for updates (and they’re also on Facebook.)

Stern’s Marilyn ‘Valentine’ Sparks Lawsuit

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Interior designer Harry Heissmann is suing his neighbour at Brooklyn Supreme Court, after her bathroom flooded during renovations – destroying limited edition artworks of Marilyn by photographer Bert Stern in his downstairs apartment, according to the New York Post.

“The ‘priceless’ Valentines and other art were wrecked when water poured down Heissmann’s walls, court papers say.

The suit doesn’t put a price on the ruined works by Stern, famous for his photographs of the sex symbol, ‘for the simple reason that there have been no subsequent sales since these first and only editions were purchased by collectors around the world,’ it says.”