Muralist Jeffrey Zimmerman has recreated Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn outside the Chicago Institute of Art on Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, as part of a retrospective, Andy Warhol – From A to Z and Back Again, on display until January 26, 2020. (It’s an interesting counterpoint to Seward Johnson’s giant sculpture of MM, which made its own debut on the ‘Magnificent Mile’ back in 2011, before finding its forever home in Palm Springs. )
Fans have posted their latest Monroe sightings on the Marilyn Remembered Facebook group. Firstly, ChadMichael Christian Morrissette found this mural (based on Alfred Eisenstadt’s famous 1953 photo of Marilyn) on Highland in Hollywood.
And secondly, Lorenzo Presti spotted Marilyn gracing the cover of the ironically-titled Marilyn Had Eleven Fingers On Her Feet, a book of Hollywood-themed paintings by artist Maria Herreros on sale in Madrid. This portrait was inspired by Milton Greene’s 1953 Laurel canyon series. And of course, Marilyn had no extra fingers, or toes – this rumour was debunked by Snopes.
Incidentally, another of Maria’s portraits – based on another shot of Marilyn by Eisenstadt – is featured on the cover of Autobiografía de Marilyn Monroe, a novel by Rafael Reig.
Former chef turned artist Simon White painted this mural (using a 1957 photo of Marilyn by Sam Shaw, plus The Beatles and explorer Steve Irwin as inspiration) on a water tank in his new hometown of Loch Sport, Victoria (on the East Gippsland coast, 260 km east of Melbourne, Australia), as Carolyn Webb reports for the Brisbane Times.
Elisa from Marilyn Remembered spotted this larger-than-life stencil on the wall of Amoeba Records in Hollywood yesterday, on the corner of Sunset and Ivar. If it looks familiar, street artist Mr. Ramano‘s take on Marilyn as short-sighted Pola in How to Marry a Millionaire was spotted a few years ago in Culver City (although her cool shades had red frames then, not pink.)
Graffiti artist Keith Haring, who died in 1990, was a protegee of Andy Warhol and friend of Madonna. His work is awash with pop culture references (along with more sombre social themes), so it’s no surprise to find triplicate portraits of Marilyn on display at the Arlington Museum of Art, as part of a retrospective, Keith Haring: Against All Odds.
This Marilyn mural, in the Woodley Park district of Washington D.C., was commissioned almost 40 years ago by a local hairdresser. Roi Barnard, former owner of Salon Roi (and author of a new memoir) has shared the story behind this much-loved local landmark with the Washington Post.
“What do you see when you look at Marilyn Monroe gazing down at the corner of Connecticut and Calvert streets NW? A beautiful woman? A movie star? An icon?
Roi Barnard sees himself.
‘When I saw Marilyn for the first time on screen, I just went, Whoa, you’re not happy either,’ said Roi, the District hairdresser who helped commission the famed mural in 1981. ‘And I saw it in her eyes.’
‘My love affair with Marilyn started when I was 12,’ said Roi as he gently, but firmly, tilted my head to the left. ‘Her star was just beginning to rise. I forget which movie I saw first, but I saw her, and I saw in her eyes, my eyes. We had sad eyes. No matter how happy she was, I knew she was sad. And I related to that.’
Roi doesn’t seem sad now, at age 81. It wasn’t always that way.
‘I was a sissy little boy,’ Roi said. That was not an easy thing to be where he grew up: in tiny Poplar Branch, N.C., a place of dirt roads and outhouses … Roi came out of the closet in the 1960s, determined to be honest about his sexuality. He became a model, changing his name from ‘Roy’ to the more memorable ‘Roi.’ He learned to cut hair and worked as a hairdresser at the Washington Hilton. In 1969, he and Charles Stinson — his business partner and onetime romantic partner — opened a salon together.
In 1981, Charles commissioned artist John Bailey to paint the Marilyn mural. It’s become a landmark, even if most passersby don’t know how personal the image is to Roi.
‘She carried me through a very troubling part of my life,’ Roi said. ‘I would just go see her movies or read about her. I connected with her.’ Putting Marilyn on the wall wasn’t advertising, Roi said. It was homage.”
One of the best-known, and long-lived Marilyn murals – now 37 years old – is profiled on DC Curbed.
“On the upper outside wall of Salon Roi, passersby can find a massive mural of pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe. The work was completed in 1981 by John Bailey. It was later restored in 2001 after the artwork faded over the years. New lights were also installed. In 2014, Washington City Paper’s Reader’s Poll named this piece one of the the best murals in the city.”
On the eve of the UK general election, a stencil painting of Prime Minister Theresa May wearing her favourite leopard-skin stilettos, in a recreation of Marilyn’s ‘subway scene’ from The Seven Year Itch (originally photographed by Sam Shaw) signed by street artist ‘Loretto’, has appeared in London’s West End, reports Fitzrovia News.
The merging of Marilyn, an icon of youth and beauty, with a right-wing politician is either comical or grotesque, depending on your perspective. However, comparisons of this kind are nothing new, especially in the art world. Photographer Philippe Halsman started the trend with ‘Marilyn Mao‘, blending his own 1952 portrait of MM – her first Life magazine cover – with the head and shoulders of the Chinese premier, Mao Tse-tung.
Perhaps it’s the rumoured affair with President Kennedy that triggered this strange phenomenon, or just that Marilyn’s own cultural reach rivals that of our world leaders. For me, these images evoke the contrast between her radiant humanity, and the dangerous aura of those who wield power.