What is it about Marilyn Monroe that makes her such and enduring legacy in American culture? She wasn’t just an actress, but a muse — subject of many a renowned photographer, and even and artist or two. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her death, we decided to look back on Marilyn in ARTINFO history: here are the greatest hits.
Poland’s Monroe Collection:
Jut a few weeks ago, the nation of Poland made headlines by announcing that it has a giant collection of Milton H. Greene photos, many of his famous photo shoots with Monroe, and would be selling it at auction. The works are being displayed in Warsaw until the sale.
Lawrence Schiller’s “Marilyn & Me” at Steven Kasher Gallery:
Back in June, Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea mounted a display of more than 50 Monroe images by photographer Lawrence Schiller, complete with original proof sheets dotted with notes and edits by the actress herself. (Go straight to the slideshow here.)
Bert Stern’s Bel Air Hotel Photos:
Back in November, a book was released featuring Monroe images from Bert Stern’s Bel Air Hotel shoot for Vogue in 1962 — many of which include the actress in bed and mostly nude. For the book, the photos were paired with Norman Mailer’s 1973 biography of Monroe (and the complete tome cost a not-insignificant $1,000).
The Maybe-Marilyn Sex Tape:
Who can forget that time that an eccentric Spanish memorabilia collector alleged that he had a sex tape featuring Marilyn Monroe, sent it to auction in Argentina, and got zero bids? Oh, you can’t? Probably because not too many people think it’s real. Read about it here.
The Awful Chicago Skirt Sculpture:
Last year in Chicago, J. Seward Johnson erected the 26-foot tall “Forever Marilyn” sculpture in Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue. The art world was not amused. But hey, we got some video! As an aside, a non-art-world friend of ARTINFO who lives in Chicago noted that the sculpture’s billowing skirt ended up being a great respite from the rain for tourists.
The $5 Million Subway Dress:
The subway dress scene from “Seven Year Itch” helped make Monroe an icon (as evidenced above), and in 2011 it sold for an exorbitant $5.6 million at auction.
Warhol’s Many Marilyns: