‘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

Audrey Flack’s Marilyn in Jersey City Exhibit

One of my favourite artists depicting Marilyn, Audrey Flack, features in ‘Our Own Directions: Four Decades of Photo-Realism’, a new exhibition opening on September 18 at Mana Arts Center, Jersey City. Another of Flack’s paintings has graced the cover of Carl Rollyson’s Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (1986.)

“Author Louis K. Meisel points out that  Audrey Flack was the lone female artist among the original group of Photorealists.  Despite the challenges of forging a career in a male-dominated art world, Flack is the only Photorealist whose work is included in collections of New York’s four major art museums: the Met, the MoMA, the Whitney and the Guggenheim. The Yale-educated artist abandoned her involvement with an elite group of Abstract Expressionists and moved firmly into realism in the ’50s.  Flack began making paintings based on newspaper and magazine stills of political figures and events, including Hitler and Kennedy’s Motorcade.  Her political subjects were followed by film stars such as Marilyn Monroe, and she also made still life paintings of desserts, cosmetics, jewelry and assorted mementos.  Flack is recognized as an important influence on contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons who acknowledges her influence on the ironic kitsch themes in his work.”