‘Picturing Marilyn’ in New York

Marilyn by Andre De Dienes, 1946

‘Picturing Marilyn’, an exhibition featuring 62 photos by Andre de Dienes, Richard C. Miller, Bruno Bernard, Philippe Halsman, Sam Shaw, Milton Greene and Bert Stern, will be on display (and up for sale) at New York’s Milk Gallery for two days only (November 10-12.)

The exhibition is featured in fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily. Curator Etheleen Staley comments, “The key to it is that she has been so photographed, and was so photogenic that, in a way, people are drawn to her image even more than her movies.”

Other highlights include a replica of the black dress Marilyn wore for Bert Stern in 1962 (remade by Christian Dior), and a screening of My Week With Marilyn.

St Vincent Inspired by Marilyn’s Writing

Marilyn leaving hospital in 1954

St Vincent – aka musician Annie Erin Clark – performed ‘Surgeon’, a song inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s writings, now available as a free download from her forthcoming album, Strange Mercy, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday, reports the Times:

‘St. Vincent ended her concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday night with an emotionally complicated plea. “Best, finest surgeon,” she sang coolly, fingers skittering along the neck of her guitar. “Come cut me open.”

The song was “Surgeon,” with lyrics inspired by an entry in Marilyn Monroe’s diary, and St. Vincent made its queasy hunger feel palpable, even, somehow, during the mounting vulgarity of the synth-guitar solo that she used as a coda.

Surgery isn’t a bad metaphor for the process by which St. Vincent, a k a Annie Clark, creates her music. But she’s rarely if ever the one being operated on. What she does is traumatic but controlled, unsentimental but not uncaring. She can seem clinical, but she knows what she’s doing in there.’

The song is based on a piece published in Fragments, the 2010 collection of Marilyn’s writing. It was written on Waldorf-Astoria stationary (MM lived at the hotel in 1955.)

This may be an account of a dream. It is filled with characters from Marilyn’s life at the time – Lee Strasberg, Arthur Miller, Milton Greene, Dr Hohenberg, the Rostens – and suggests Marilyn’s intense fear of not living up to their expectations.

Like many of Marilyn’s undefined pieces, it has the quality of a prose poem. The bolded parts denote spelling anomalies, while the crossings-out are her own.

Best finest surgeon – Strasberg

waits to cut me open which I don’t mind since Dr H

has prepared me – given me anesthetic

and has also diagnosed the case and

agrees with what has to be done –

an operation – to bring myself back to

life and to cure me of this terrible dis-ease

whatever the hell it is –

Arthur is the only one waiting in the outer

room – worrying and hoping operation successful

for many reasons – for myself – for his play and

for himself indirectly

Hedda – concerned – keeps calling on phone during

operation – Norman – keeps stopping by hospital to

see if I’m okay but mostly to comfort Art

who is so worried –

Milton calls from office with lots of room

and everything in good taste – and is conducting

business in a new way with style – and music

is playing and he is relaxed and enjoying himself even if he

is very worried at the same time – there’s a camera

on his desk but he doesn’t take pictures anymore except

of great paintings.

Strasberg cuts me open after Dr. H gives me

anesthesia and tries in a medical way to comfort

me – everything in the room is white in fact but I

can’t even see anyone just white objects –

they cut me open – Strasberg with Hohenberg’s ass.

and there is absolutely nothing there – Strasberg is

deeply disappointed but more even – academically amazed

that he had made such a mistake. He thought there was going

to be so much – more than he had dreamed possible in

almost anyone but

instead there was absolutely nothing – devoid of

every human living feeling thing – the only thing

that came out was so finely cut sawdust – like

out of a raggedy ann doll – and the sawdust spills

all over the floor & table and Dr. H is puzzled

because suddenly she realizes that this is a

new type case of puple. The patient (pupil – or student – I started to write) existing of complete emptiness

Strasberg’s hopes & dreams for theater are fallen.

Dr H’s dreams and hopes for a permanent psychiatric cure

is given up – Arthur is disappointed – let down +

 

Dominic Cooper on Playing Milton Greene

Actor Dominic Cooper (currently starring in The Devil’s Double) has discussed his role as Milton Greene, photographer and business partner to MM, in the upcoming film, My Week With Marilyn:

‘Cooper says: “It’s an amazing period of time, featuring a kind of intriguing collaboration of two worlds ultimately colliding. The flash American studio iconic figure and forward-thinking people whisked in to do this big film they were excited about, who were then met with extraordinary sterile opposition in the form of Olivier, who was directing this movie.”

He describes the movie as “a sweet story”. “I say sweet,” he adds, “but on the one hand it’s sweet and [there is] the romantic side of it and [on] the other side it’s terribly devastating, actually. She [Monroe] was ill with something people at the time did not know much about – she had a womb infection, which meant she was in an extraordinary amount of pain most of the time. And then the drug dosage was completely different in the UK than it was in America, so when Milton was getting drugs from English doctors it was the wrong dosage. She was spiralling out of control.” ‘

It has been a long time since I read Colin Clark‘s two books about Marilyn, on which the film is based. I assume that the ‘womb infection’ story comes from that source. While I’m not sure it is accurate (and I have serious doubts about Clark’s reliability in general), Marilyn did suffer from chronic endometriosis.

Greene, Kelley, Bernard Join ABG

Statement from PR Newswire:

‘Authentic Brands Group (ABG), in addition to its recent acquisition of The Estate of Marilyn Monroe owned in partnership with NECA, Anna Strasberg and Anna Freud Center, announced today it has consolidated the licensing efforts of the Marilyn Monroe brand by signing exclusive agreements to represent the Marilyn Monroe photography of Milton H. Greene, Tom Kelley and Bernard of Hollywood – who together produced the most celebrated and recognized photographs of Monroe.’

Zolotow’s Marilyn: Life With the Greenes

With business partner Milton Greene, 1955

These latest extracts from Zolotow’s 1960 biography, first published in the Los Angeles Daily Mirror, recounts Marilyn’s split from husband Joe DiMaggio, and her decision to leave Hollywood; her business partnership with photographer Milton Greene and her personal relationship with his wife, Amy (Marilyn stayed at their Connecticut home in the winter of 1954-55, before moving to New York.)

Marilyn in Jewellery Ad Campaign

The ‘Dreams’ collection has been launched by the Brazilian jeweller, Amsterdam Sauer, and Milton Greene’s classic photographs of Marilyn (the ballerina sessions and black sitting) are being used to promote it.

Predictably, ‘Coco’ Perez Hilton is baffled: ‘What’s weird, besides the fact that she’s dead,’ the infamous gossip blogger mused, ‘Marilyn isn’t wearing any of their jewelry in the vintage shots. It just doesn’t make sense.’

For those among us who ‘get’ Monroe’s timeless beauty, there are more details over at MM Collection Blog.

Dominic Cooper as Milton Greene

“In the upcoming film My Week with Marilyn, Michelle Williams plays Marilyn Monroe, and Dominic Cooper will play photographer Milton Greene. ‘He was quite an old* man, but they had a very close relationship,’ Cooper says. ‘I think Marilyn felt very supported by him in the beginning. But ultimately he became her agent and business partner, which is rather a lot.’

Greene sounds like another of Cooper’s ethically dubious characters. ‘There’s a sinister edge to some of them,’ he agrees. ‘But I like the challenge of making them multi-dimensional. It’s fun to play characters who are narcissistic and arrogant and obviously not very nice. The pleasure is trying to inject a quality into them that an audience can tolerate and understand.'”

USA Today

*In 1956, Greene was 34, just four years Marilyn’s senior, so not ‘old’ at all. I assume this is a typo and Cooper might have actually said ‘odd’.

Marilyn On This Day: June 29, 1956

Photo by Milton Greene

At 7:21pm, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller were married by Judge Seymour Rabinowitz in a civil wedding at the Westchester County Court House in White Plains, New York. Guests included Arthur’s cousin, Morton.

A more elaborate, Jewish ceremony was held on July 1st, attended by family and friends.