Mana Contemporary presents:
Marilyn: Character Not Image
September 25, 2016 – October 21, 2016
Curated by Whoopi Goldberg
An exclusive, capsule exhibition of Marilyn Monroe’s poems, drawings, and iconic dress; featuring photographs by Milton Greene and Weegee, as well as select video footage.
This show presents a different side to the legendary actress: behind the glamour was a vulnerable, sensitive, and ambitious young woman who spent time writing poems and diary entries to self-analyze, understand, and reassure herself. In these writings, she craves love and friendship, and battles with ongoing pain, heartbreak, and disappointment. She attempts to understand the world on her terms, tries to accept her insecurities and fears, and to become a better artist.
Milton Greene was a personal friend who constructed many famous images of Marilyn the star, but he also took many intimate photographs of Marilyn the person. The images here demonstrate her sweetness, humor, and impatience: with husband Arthur Miller, talking to animals, receiving directions for a photoshoot, taking a summer dip. The images by Weegee reveal a sly complicity between subject and photographer: his dark-room distorted imagery pokes fun at the unreal and absurd facets of the Hollywood industry, of which Marilyn was keenly aware.
Also on view is the dress she wore during the unforgettable 1962 performance singing “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, perhaps the most significant moment of her career, the crystallization of the persona she was continually creating since she dreamed of becoming an actress as a little girl. The dress and the drawings are on loan from Julien's Auctions’ forthcoming November events.
“The image of Marilyn Monroe the icon endures and strengthens as time goes by, but her personal life remains a mystery,” says Whoopi Goldberg. “With this exhibition I wanted to show a glimpse of the woman behind the icon using, before now, never-before-seen images, some of her personal writings, and some pieces of her artwork.”
(1) Weegee, Marilyn Monroe, ca. 1957.
© Weegee/International Center of Photography
(2) Weegee, [Marilyn Monroe distortion], ca. 1960. Courtesy of International Center of Photography
(3) Weegee, [Marilyn Monroe distortion], ca. 1960. Courtesy of International Center of Photography