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Marilyn

Sunday B. Morning, 1970

WAG 8474

About this object

This screenprint is based on a publicity photograph of Marilyn Monroe (1926-62) from the 1953 film ‘Niagara’. It is an unauthorised print produced by the Belgian collective Sunday B. Morning, in 1970, after an original by Andy Warhol. Warhol produced his original set of ten screenprints, referred to as the ‘Factory Editions’, in 1967, five years after the iconic actress’s death. Sunday B. Morning were supposedly given the original photo-negatives and colour codes needed to produce the prints by Warhol himself. However, when Warhol changed his mind, he tried – but failed – to stop their production. When he subsequently came across one, he signed it ‘This is Not By Me. Andy Warhol’, to ‘negate’ them. The Walker’s print is unsigned.

Warhol produced many different prints of Monroe all based on the same publicity shot. His fascination with the actress was based on her status as both an iconic celebrity and as a camp figure who had fallen somewhat out of fashion by the time of her death. Marilyn is sometimes held up as the ultimate gay icon since she was simultaneously a glamorous pop culture style idol and a martyr figure. The tragic nature of her life and death appealed to the fascination that gay communities have with martyred figures such as Saint Sebastian.

Unlike other famous gay American artists, Warhol refused to stay ‘in the closet’. He used his work to reference, comment and play with the dominant images of gay and queer culture. As well as becoming one of the most renowned and popular artists of his generation, Warhol is credited as being a principle figure in the development of alternative music scenes and fashion styles. At his ‘Factory’ in New York, Warhol kickstarted a whole new subculture by bringing together young alternative artists and musicians with his queer ‘superstars’. The unique fusion of glamorous and trashy fashion sported by superstars such as the transsexual actress Candi Darling, and drag queen Jackie Curtis, was adopted by glitter rock bands such as the New York Dolls and the crowds at venues like CBGB’s. This was the scene that evolved into punk.

Often described as a contemporary dandy, Warhol also cultivated his own unique queer style, which pushed the idea of the public persona to the extreme. He famously lived his life as a carefully constructed image, leaving parties as soon as he had been photographed at them. His unabashed and deadpan celebration of the artificial, the superficial and the flamboyant has become a hallmark of some types of queer style.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Sunday B Morning (born:unknown, died:unknown)
    Copied after Andy Warhol (American, born:6 August 1928, died:22 February 1987)
  • Date
    1970
  • Materials
    Screen print; Paper
  • Measurements
    paper: 91.5 cm x 91.5 cm
  • Physical description
    This is a screenprinted portrait of the actress Marilyn Monroe. The portrait is a closely cropped, showing the young women's face and neck only. The contrast of the image has been exaggerated so that her features stand out. The background is shocking pink. Her facial features are printed in dark blue. Her hair is overprinted in orange, her lips in purple and her eyeshadow and beauty spot in lilac.
  • Related people
    Bernard Jacobson Gallery (Previous owner); Sunday B Morning (Artist/maker); Andy Warhol (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 8474
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1973
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Bernard Jacobson Gallery

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1973
    Disposal method: Sold to the Walker Art Gallery on 6 March 1973

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: 'FILL IN YOUR OWN SIGNATURE' BOTTOM RIGHT) 'PUBLISHED BY SUNDAY B. MORNING'; 94 / 250 (bottom left, rubber stamps on reverse)
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
Object view = Fine Art
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