Artworks
Gold Marilyn Monroe
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cbowers's picture

Contributor

Like most people, I love a good conspiracy theory. And one of my favorites is the death of Andy Warhol muse Marilyn Monroe.

Whether you believe she OD'ed or that a Kennedy was involved, the event is one of the most talked about and widely debated deaths of any celebrity, by far.

Her body was discovered by her psychiatrist, of all people, in her home in Brentwood, California in 1962. The death was making headlines back then, but this silkscreened image was a way for her to live on forever. And it certainly doesn't seem like people are going to forget about her anytime soon. The now infamous portrait was also a way for Warhol to say a little something about America's obsession with celebrities.

Warhol grew up attending an Eastern Catholic church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and if you have ever been to one, you'll know there are a lot of golden Jesuses on the walls. Like, a lot. So maybe this was a little inspiration for painting the background gold, commemorating the actress as martyred Saint Marilyn.

Warhol had many silkscreens of Monroe, but this is the only one where he uses color in her actual image. The piece reduces Marilyn to her basic shapes: eyes, lips, hair, making her shallow and glossy, just like a tabloid rag. Celebrities and public personas can be made and bought like canned soup. Remember boy bands? Or "The Real World" on MTV? Me either.

MTV caught and ran with Warhol's idea of people getting their 15 minutes of fame. Yep, that was him. This guy was into being famous and partying with the popular kids. I bet if Andy Warhol were alive today, he'd silkscreening pictures of Kim Kardashian. Like we don't see enough of her already.