WOW! – Work of the Week – Andy Warhol – Marilyn Monroe FS II.29



Andy Warhol
Marilyn Monroe FS II.29
1967
Screenprint on Wove paper
36 x 36 in.
Edition of 250
Pencil signed and stamp-numbered on verso


About the work:
Have you ever wondered why after more than 55 years of the death of Marilyn Monroe, she still remains the top iconic sex symbol in the world?
Monroe’s life and death are are so widely known, and read like a Shakespearean tragedy. Wanting so badly to become famous, Norma Jean Mortenson spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages before she became a pin up model, and eventually the one of the biggest Hollywood movie stars to date. But this fame came at a cost. Billed by Hollywood as a “Blonde Bombshell”, by 1953 Monroe emerged as a major sex symbol and one of Hollywood’s most bankable performers.
The 1953 film noir Niagara put Marilyn on the map as a sex symbol, and was the start of the Marilyn Monroe that we know today. By now, Monroe and her make-up artist had developed the make-up look that became associated with her: dark arched brows, pale skin, “glistening” red lips and a beauty mark.
Niagara was one of the most overtly sexual films of Monroe’s career, and it included scenes in which her body was covered only by a sheet or a towel, considered shocking by contemporary audiences. Its most famous scene is a 30-second long shot behind Monroe where she is seen walking with her hips swaying, which was heavily used in the film’s marketing.
When Niagara was released in 1953, women’s clubs protested that the film was immoral, but the movie proved popular with audiences and grossed $6 million at the box office. This film, Niagara made Monroe a sex symbol and established her “look”.
This weeks Work of the Week! WOW! is Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe FS II.29
Produced in 1967, five years after Monroe’s death, it is not by coincidence that the photo of Marilyn that Warhol selected for what is to be one of his most famous and iconic works of art was a publicity shot from the 1953 film Niagara.


Publicity photo from 1953 film Niagara

Many people do not fully understand the importance of Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe. Early works by Warhol were social and political commentaries on what was going in America at the time.
Warhol’s Marilyn to one who understands the work is genius, to those who do not, they ask what is the big deal? Warhol just reproduce a photo of Marilyn, and it is considered art?
Well for starters consider this: Andy Warhol immortalized Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe DID NOT immortalize Marilyn Monroe.
The most famous image of Marilyn Monroe is Warhol’s image. It has been reproduced millions of times, on countless products such as tote bags, coffee mugs, t-shirts, notebooks etc. This image is how younger generations identify Marilyn Monroe by. Artist’s of today, have appropriated Warhol’s Marilyn, after more than 55 years of her death.
So why is this work so important, and a work of genius? How come it has withstood the test of time?
In order to learn what this work is, we must first realize what this work is not. Warhol’s Marilyn is NOT just a portrait of a beautiful sexy celebrity.
Warhol’s Marilyn is a documentary, and a commentary on the life of one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, the culture of Hollywood, the power of Hollywood and film, and the culture of America at this time
“Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.”
Marilyn Monroe
Against Monroe’s wishes and demands over the years to be taken as a more serious actress, and wanting to be seen as more than just a “Dumb Blonde”, Hollywood continued to pump the sex starlet money machine, and refused to listen to Marilyn.
Although there were many other actresses before and during Marilyn’s era that have been typecast as a sex symbol, no one filled the roll better than Marilyn Monroe. The timing for Marilyn was perfect. After WWII America was coming into her own, and the innocence of the American society was slowly being ripped away. Hollywood realized that sex sells. Young men want Marilyn, and young women want to be like Marilyn.
However, this shedding of innocence of American society was the minority. Of course it was mostly a feeling of the younger generation, but conservatism still had a strong hold on American society and images of sex, and merely the suggestion of anything sex was still viewed as wrong or devilish.
Marilyn was pushing the envelope at a time when the majority of the country was not used to this type of openness towards sexuality. Yes, she was ground breaking, but this came at a grave cost.
This had taken a toll on Marilyn, and was the underlying factor of Marilyn’s tragic death. Hollywood’s greed and unwillingness to listen to one of its biggest stars led to Marilyn’s depression, ultimately her overdose of barbiturates, ruled as a “probable suicide”.
Andy Warhol had the foresight to see the whole story, and as any true artist does, created a work of art that not only details her life, but also comments on the state of the times in the country, as well as specific factors influencing American society during this era, such as commercialism, consumerism, greed, celebrity, sexuality and the innocence, growth and coming out of the American society. By definition, it is the epitome of Pop Art, and possibly the most famous work to come out of the Pop art
movement
Marilyn Monroe went from the top of her game, to the depths of hell, and overdosed at age 36. Warhol’s image of Marilyn represents her tragic story, and puts it in perspective in a way, that biographies and film documentaries do not, and frankly, can not. Warhol made Marilyn a work of art, for viewers to stop and think about her tragic life, the culture of Hollywood, the insincerities of greed towards a human life, and the attitude of America towards sexuality during this time, in the most abstract of ways. All this by just appropriating an image of Marilyn. It’s the concept of this work, and not the work itself that speaks volumes. And this is why the work is genius!

WOW – Work Of the Week – James Rosenquist “Marilyn”

Marilyn stock

James Rosenquist
Marilyn
1974
Lithograph
41 3/4 x 29 1/2 in.
Edition of 75

Pencil signed, titled, dated and numbered

About This Work:

With the recent passing of James Rosenquist, Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art is dedicating this week’s Work Of the Week to the icon and pioneer of Pop Art. 

James Rosenquist started his career as a sign painter of commercial billboards, which is often reflected in his large-scale paintings through a flat, uniform, and graphic style. Much of his inspiration was drawn from the advent of large-scale advertising and mass media. The bright hues and precise renderings convey the new, clean, and sterile environments so often used in advertising. However, while on the surface, his works appear to suggest the American Dream of the 1950’s and 1960’s, an underlining message addresses the potential issues American society will confront, and be confronted with, during this emergence of the thriving economy of the postwar.  

One of Mr. Rosenquist’s most famous painting, F-111 is an 86-foot-long commentary on the duality of Americana in 1965 at the height of the Vietnam War. 23 panels juxtaposed a mushroom cloud, a smiling girl, a bomber jet, a beach umbrella, among others. Debuting at the Leo Castelli Gallery in NYC, the piece caused a sensation in the art world. 

Another well-known work is Marilyn Monroe I. Measuring 7’ 9” x 6’ ¼”, this large-scale oil and spray enamel on canvas is a tribute to the sex symbol, created shortly after her sudden death in 1962. Through this work, Rosenquist took upon himself to share with his viewers a more sophisticated message – one that consisted of more than the usual glamourous image of Marilyn Monroe so many artists have utilized. The imagery we are so accustomed to associate with the movie star was transformed, and Rosenquist chose to present her in a manner that denied the immediate recognition, while preserving her coquettishness. One must observe the piece very closely to understand who it is the viewer is confronted with. Monroe’s face is divided into six panes removing her instant recognition, however, Rosenquist demonstrates a unique ability to transmit her spirit. All of Monroe’s features, her eyes, lips and hand, have been fragmented and placed together in an incoherent manner, with bold lettering painted on top in the same disjointed configuration. 

Clearly visible, but also in a fragmented manner, is the Coca-Cola logo, but on closer inspection, overlaying letters of Marilyn Monroe’s name also become apparent. James Rosenquist, being very familiar with the force of branding, mass-production and popular culture, was able to draw attention to the idea that Marilyn Monroe was as important to commercialism and industry as any every day products such as Coca-Cola, drawing upon the message beyond her as a person, but as Marilyn Monroe packaged in the mass media and marketed based on her sex appeal. Rosenquist’s painting of Marilyn Monroe is one of countless others painted by his contemporaries, including Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning, that attest to the increasing power of mass media and its impact on art production during the 1960’s.

The Marilyn lithograph became available in 1974 and was published by Petersburg Press Inc. in an edition of 75. It is housed in the MoMA and Tate, among many other prominent collections. 

Rosenquist was born in 1933 and passed away in New York City on March 31st 2017 after an illustrious career, which cemented him as one of the most important and influential American artists of our time. 

 

Press Release – Andy Warhol: Withstanding The Test Of Time

ANDY WARHOL WITHSTANDING THE TEST OF TIME MARCH 12 – APRIL 11, 2015 

[no title] 1967 by Andy Warhol 1928-1987Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, FS II.25, 1967, Screenprint, 36 x 36 in., Edition of 250, Signed and numbered on verso

Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art will be exhibiting over 40 works by Andy Warhol. An exhibition of this magnitude has never been seen in Miami before.

The gallery, which specializing in contemporary masters, also exhibits newer contemporary artist. This exhibition shows how after 50 years, the works of Andy Warhol are still relevant to the world today, and how the new generation of artists are influenced by Warhol.

For more about Andy Warhol and his influence please read below.

To understand Andy Warhol and his art, one must first understand the art movement of the time, which came to be known as the POP art movement, and secondly the artist himself. Since 1943, American Modern art was dominated by Abstract Expressionism. Artists such as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning believed that art was about the raw, physical mark, or “gesture” made when the artist applied paint to the canvas.

As a reaction to the dominance of Abstract Expressionism in art and a culture now driven by consumerism, the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg represented a new generation of artist that wanted to reflect the reality of the humdrum life around them, which was modern America in the 1950s. These two artists reach new heights and broke new ground in their own individual styles. These two artists paved the way for Andy Warhol, however, while Johns and Rauschenberg chose objects so familiar that they were overlooked, Warhol would take images so popular that they already had mass appeal. He would be as bold and as brash as the advertisements and products surrounding him. He figured that one would interpret the icons and artifacts of the consumer boom in two ways. The idealized images of perfect people and faultless products could be seen as clichés or classicism. They can be viewed as a crass and exploitative picture or they can be viewed as celebrating the ideal of perfection.

To reveal this psychological tension, Warhol went to his mother’s place for lunch to think about a suitably “low” motif. When he arrived there he sat down and consumed the same meal he had been eating for the past 20 years – a slice of bread and a can of Campbell’s soup. The Campbell’s soup can would not only define him as an artist, but also define POP art and the movement’s overriding obsession with mass production and consumer culture.

His method of screenprinting images on either canvas or paper made him successful in removing almost all evidence of the artist’s presence from the paintings. The power of the work was in its dispassionate coldness, communicated by the apparent absence of the artist’s hand. The images of the paintings parodies the methods of modern advertising, which aims to infiltrate the public’s consciousness in order to indoctrinate and persuade by bombarding us with multiple exposures of the same image.

Warhol also challenges the idea that art should be original, as well as the tradition of the art market, which places value – financial and artistic – on perceived rarity and uniqueness. Warhol’s decision not to create his own images also furthers Marcel Duchamp’s idea that the art world falsely elevates artists to the role of all seeing geniuses.

This amazing, unselfish contribution to art can be seen in many artists today. The Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei paints his consumer driven influenced images on 1,000 year old antique artifacts, removing himself from his art and its message. The anonymous stencil artist Banksy removes himself from his work, not only by remaining anonymous, but also by using a pre-made stencil, which also removes the artistic hand in his artworks and his messages. Jeff Koons uses images of puppies, Popeye and tulips in high polished mirror finish to remove the hand of the artist.

There are many artists today from Koons to Ai Weiwei to Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Nate Lowman and countless others whose personas, works and ideas owe a debt of gratitude to their predecessor, Andy Warhol. For without Warhol, none of their great minds could have flourished.

Andy Warhol withstands the test of time.