Will Marilyn Be the End of May?

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.

Fresno’s Marilyn Muralist Dies

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FranCisco Vargas, the artist who painted a mural of Marilyn in downtown Fresno, California, has died aged 64, the Fresno Bee reports. He had suffered a stroke after being diagnosed with cancer in July. The mural, first painted in 1992, stands on the Weco Welding Supply building on Ventura Street near Eighth. In 2012, Vargas changed the cigarette held by Marilyn (after a 1953 portrait by Frank Powolny) to a paintbrush. Last year, he completed a ‘postage stamp mural’, celebrating Fresno’s icons.

Marilyn Spotted on Kansas Roundabout

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The town of Hutchinson, Kansas received a surprise visitor on Saturday, November 22, when a mystery graffiti artist (or, for some, a mere vandal) spray-painted four stencil images of Marilyn’s face – two red and two blue, perhaps denoting the colours of the American flag – on a limestone column built on a roundabout a few years ago, marking the foundation of the Hyde Park neighbourhood in 1915, reports KAKE.com.

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Stolen Marilyn Mural Returns

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Artist Paul Archer with his Marilyn mural

Public art featuring Marilyn always seems to cause a stir. Just two weeks ago, a mural by Paul Archer, depicting Marilyn between the sheets (inspired by an iconic photo session with Andre de Dienes), was stolen from the wall outside Floyd’s Diner in downtown Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada. But as the Times Colonist reports today, the mural has now been found in a nearby alleyway, with only minor damage.

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Marilyn by Andre de Dienes, 1953

From Lady Liberty to Marilyn

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Happy Independence Day to all our American readers! This ‘paste-up’ by street artist Pegasus – blending MM in The Seven Year Itch with the Statue of Liberty – can now be seen in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NYC.

Kylie – With a Hint of Marilyn…

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London street artist Pegasus – who has created several tributes to Marilyn – pays homage to Australian singer Kylie Minogue in a new Chelsea artwork. There’s more than a hint of MM, too – Kylie is wearing Marilyn’s ‘Blue Dragon’ costume, from that famous scene in Bus Stop (1956.) In her unforgettable role as beleaguered nightclub ‘chantoosie’ Cherie, Monroe sang ‘That Old Black Magic’ to an audience of rambunctious cowboys.

Kylie is a well-known Monroe fan, having performed ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in the past. And this isn’t the first time Pegasus has merged two icons, either – he once recreated Betty Grable’s most famous pin-up pose, using the face of Queen Elizabeth II.

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American Beauty in London

Yesterday, millions of Americans marked a painful anniversary – it is now fifty years since the assassination of President Kennedy. How fitting then, that this patriotic vision by street artist Pegasus is his latest tribute to Marilyn spotted on the streets of London. (You can find her outside Soho Skin on Silver Street, W1.)

I have posted some close-ups below, along with some earlier Marilyns by Pegasus. I first saw them on on his Facebook page this morning, with a caption many of us will agree with:  “The most beautiful woman this world has ever seen…mind body and soul!”