Eric Shiner, curator at Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum, has spoken about the current Marilyn: Life as a Legend exhibition.
“‘She had so many layers under that facade of beauty, that facade of fame and celebrity,’ said Eric Shiner, a curator at the Warhol. ‘And it’s great that these things are finally coming to light. It’s great to see who she was as a real person.’
Aside from Warhol, Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend features work by such top-drawer luminaries as photographer Richard Avedon, Sgt. Pepper album-cover designer Peter Blake, abstract expressionist painter Willem De Kooning and photographer and filmmaker Bert Stern. De Kooning is represented through ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ a swirling, colorful interpretation of the former Norma Jean Baker that rarely escapes from the Neuberger Museum of Art in upstate New York.
Perhaps the works that prompt the most comment are Stern’s nude images of Monroe that were taken about six weeks before she died of an overdose of prescription medicine in August 1962. It’s possible to look at them and think that she appears a little careworn, a little forlorn. ‘That’s our human compulsion to do that,’ Shiner pointed out.
‘You want to read into what you’re seeing and want to find justification there. And every time I’ve taken groups through the show, standing in front of these pictures, almost everyone tries to read into her eyes. There’s sadness there, there’s some sort of hint of what’s to come.’
Warhol identified with Monroe, Shiner added, not only because of her celebrity, a perennial obsession with him, but also with her vulnerability and the turmoil in her private life. Newspaper clippings on her death pulled from Warhol’s collection are in the exhibit, as are his silkscreen prints of Monroe, which are among his most famous works.”
Some Like it Hot comes third in The Guardian‘s Top 25 Comedies, beaten by (ahem) Borat, and Annie Hall.
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, film critic Barry Paris, who co-authored Tony Curtis’s first autobiography, celebrates Marilyn’s sizzling screen career ahead of the Life as a Legend exhibit and movie season at the Andy Warhol Museum.
“It took a smart cookie to play the ultimate dumb blonde — and become the pop culture’s most fragile, enduring icon in the process. Marilyn Monroe’s spectacular beauty and sexuality stoked America’s collective imagination, captivating and defining her era.
Chief among the MM pix, of course, is Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder’s 1959 classic, pretty unanimously considered the all-time best movie comedy. Tony Curtis, in and out of drag, falls hopelessly in love with her, and so do we. In Sugar Kane (nee Sugar Kowalczyk), we get her euphoric screen presence at its best, secretly battling her offscreen demons at their worst.
Hollywood’s most alluring sex goddess was also its most dysfunctional actress. All the good, bad and ugly aspects of working with Marilyn — more precisely, of Marilyn working — would converge during the making of Some Like It Hot…
…On the other hand, Mr. Wilder shrugged, ‘My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual on the set, never hold up production, and know her lines forwards and backwards — but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?'”
There could hardly be a more perfect setting for a Marilyn Monroe movie season than the Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. The screenings accompany the Marilyn: Life as a Legend exhibit, which runs from October 23 through to January 2.
Nice to see two of Monroe’s lesser-known films on schedule: Don’t Bother to Knock (a 1952 thriller containing one of Monroe’s most impressive dramatic performances) and River of No Return, a visually arresting Cinemascope western from 1954, with some great musical numbers from Marilyn (though a bit light on realism!)
November 12, 2010
Don’t Bother to Knock(1952) 76 min. Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Niagara (1953) 92 min. Directed by Henry Hathaway
November 19, 2010
River of No Return(1954) 91 min. Directed by Otto Preminger
December 3, 2010
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes(1953) 91 min. Directed by Howard Hawks
How to Marry a Millionaire(1953) 95 min. Directed by Dir. Jean Negulesco
December 10, 2010
Some Like It Hot(1959) 120 min. Directed by Billy Wilder
Pittsburgh author and journalist Barry Paris will introduce the film.
December 17, 2010
The Misfits(1961) 124 min. Directed by John Huston
Over 300 photographs and artworks in this touring exhibition, coming to the Warhol Museum, opening for 24 hours from 10 am, October 23, and continuing until January 2, 2011. A Monroe film series begins on November 12.
Though I’ve always been ambivalent about Warhol’s Marilyn, the warmer tones of this silkscreen are very alluring. So if any of my Brighton friends have £495 to spare and would like to buy me a present, make haste to Art Republic on Bond Street!