‘Marilyn: Celebrating an International Icon’, a touring exhibition (previously in Georgia), comes to Reading Public Museum in Washington DC on August 22, reports Daily Local News.
“The Reading Public Museum is highlighting the woman who redefined sexuality in America with the ‘Marilyn: Celebrating An American Icon’ exhibition Aug. 22 to Oct. 5. in the museum’s Cohen Modern and Contemporary Gallery.
The multimedia exhibit composed of 115 works by more than 50 artists, including Andy Warhol, Milton H. Greene, Eve Arnold and Antonio de Felipe, highlights the many sides of the 1950s glamour goddess and immortal legend in styles ranging from fashion photography to pop art.
Photos of well-loved movie scenes, familiar publicity photos, biographical glimpses into Monroe’s private moments and various artistic interpretations of the starlet exemplify how her iconic image still electrifies the world a half century after her death. Videos include a compilation of photos by Bruno Bernard, A BBC interview with Sam Shaw about his friend Monroe, a 2009 video by Thorsten Tenberken called ‘Backlash Marilyn Monroe’ and a Tenberken video titled ‘No, no, no.’
The exhibition opens with Tom Kelley’s series, The Red Velvet Photos, which appeared in the first issue of Playboy, and continues with works by well-known photographers Frank Powolny, Lazlo Willinger and Alfred Eisenstaedt. The pictures capture the beauty and sensuality not only of the recognizable celebrity, but also of Monroe’s struggle to empower herself.
Among those images is a series of silver gelatin prints by world-renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton, including a photo said to be Monroe’s favorite picture of herself, lying across a bed in a white dress holding a carnation to her breast.
The exhibit continues into Monroe’s film career in which she appeared in 30 motion pictures. Among the photos in the exhibition are recognizable moments in that career, including the famous subway grate scene with Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch, by Sam Shaw, as well as pensive behind-the-scenes shots by photographers Ernst Haas and Henri-Cartier Bresson on the set of her last film, The Misfits.
The troubled star struggled to balance her career and love life, marrying and divorcing three times. Her second and third marriages, to baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller respectively, were highly publicized, and such photos as George Silk’s tearful Marilyn illustrate how the actress was unable to keep her The exhibit continues with an introspective look into that more private side with photos by Monroe friend George Barris. The images capture the starlet’s loneliness, which was often publicly disguised by her light and radiance.
Barris’ photos from 1962, showing Monroe laughing and striking poses, are some of the last taken of her before she was found dead in her home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles Aug. 5 of that year.
Following Barris’ introspective, the exhibit ends with a presentation of paintings and other works of art created by American, Asian and European artists after Monroe’s death. Modern and avant-garde artists such as Ramos and de Felipe offer their interpretations of the actress.
Works in this section, some from as recently as 2009, take the form of diverse media, and reflect the artists’ ideas on sexuality, commercialism and the exploitation in the world, as well as perceptions of the icon through the power of her image. Most of all, said museum curator Scott Schweigert, ‘The works reveal the character of Marilyn Monroe as an enduring cultural phenomenon.'”