Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

From Bowie to Warhol: Current Exhibitions in Australia


For art and photography lovers, the next couple of months in Australia feature a spate of eclectic exhibitions. While some councils in Australia are actively seeking to undermine the Arts industry, others are fully embracing the importance of art. The most popular exhibition of the moment is the Andy Warhol-Ai Weiwei exhibition at the NGV Melbourne which ends April 24. Looking at the the lives of the two artists, the exhibition emphasises their influence on modern art, featuring more than 300 works from the artists.

Warhol’s work will also be shown in an exhibition (one of two) dedicated to Marilyn Monroe:  Marilyn: Celebrating an American Icon is now showing until May 8 at the Murray Art Museum in Albury. It will feature photographs and artwork surrounding Monroe’s illustrious career and enduring pop culture mythology. John McDonald writes in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Albury has pulled out all stops for this show. The town is covered in pink flags and lights. There are Marilyn Monroe quotations on posters in shop windows. It’s worth going to see a city that is so supportive of arts and culture when other councils in NSW, from Broken Hill to Coffs Harbour, are working to destroy the galleries and audiences that have been built up over many years.”

The second Marilyn exhibition is Marilyn, showing from March 5- July 10, 2016 at the Bendigo Art Gallery. This exhibition will focus more on Monroe’s wardrobe, featuring over 20 original costumes from Monroe’s films.

For architecture buffs, there is Imagine a City: 200 years of public architecture in NSW showing at the State Library of NSW, which includes works by iconic artists and photographers Max Dupain, Lloyd Rees and Harold Cazneaux.

And to honour the late, great David Bowie, the small but popular Blender Gallery in Paddington, known for its music photography, is showing Starman 1947-2016, A Tribute to David Bowie featuring a series of intimate photographs of the revolutionary star.This will be on show from February 27 to April 2.

David Bowie, Mirror 1972 by Mick Rock

 

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Monroe and Joyce: when celebrities read books


marilyn-ulysses

My article ‘Reading Marilyn reading Ulysses: when celebrities are photographed with books’ has just been published at Kill Your Darlings. In the article I discuss the famous image of Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, and how discussions surrounding the photograph tap into broader arguments about celebrity culture and literature.  Here is the opening:

In 1955, photographer Eve Arnold snapped a now-iconic image of American actress Marilyn Monroe, in her bathers on a Long Island playground. It is notable not only for her beauty, but for the fact that she is pictured reading what is considered to be one of the most impenetrable books of modernist literature: James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the sixty years since the photograph was taken, it has prompted continual speculation as to whether it was staged…

To read the article, click here.

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From the Archives: ‘The Advocate’ on Communism and Marilyn Monroe (1955)


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Copyright Siobhan Lyons, 2016

Our family recently discovered an old copy of The Advocate amongst my grandmother’s papers; a Melbourne-based Catholic newspaper reporting on all things moral and wholesome, it was first published on February 1, 1868, and ceased publication in 1990. This particular copy was published on December 8, 1955. The content, as one would expect, features very orthodox views on topics ranging from the latest films to commentary on the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the threat of Communist involvement. On the film review page, a guideline offers insight into just how conservative the views of certain Catholics were back in the 50s, with films being separated into an archaic, though quite amusing, ratings system. In place of G, PG, M15+, MA, and R, we have:

A1: Suitable for General Patronage

A2: Suitable for Adults

B: Objectionable in Part

C: Condemned

As the photograph below reveals, both A Star is Born, with Judy Garland, and The Seven Year Itch, starring the curvaceous temptress Marilyn Monroe, belong strictly to the ‘Condemned’ column. Other films in the ‘Condemned’ list include the 1954 film noir Black Tuesday and 1954 dance flick MamboThe Barefoot Contessa gets off lightly in the B column, criticised for ‘misrepresenting Catholic practices’ and containing ‘suggestive scenes’ (our version of ‘sexual references’). Women without Hope – a French film by Raoul Andre about prostitution – also sits in the ‘partly objectionable’ column, featuring a ‘low moral tone’ and ‘unfit subjects’.

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Copyright Siobhan Lyons, 2016

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Copyright Siobhan Lyons, 2016

A film review of The Young Lovers notes: ‘Aside from these reflections, The Young Lovers can be accepted at the level of fine entertainment without swallowing the spineless philosophy on which it is based’. A review of The Man from Laramie praises James Stewart though notes: ‘The formula is as trite and predictable as last Sunday’s dinner’. Also found in the newspaper is an article on Communism at the Melbourne Olympics. ‘From behind the Iron Curtain’, it begins, ‘comes fragmentary but reliable news that the Communists are aiming to dominate the Melbourne Olympic Games and indeed have a good chance of winning’.  It continues: ‘If they win, immediately they will follow the triumph with a propaganda barrage claiming the superiority of the “Communist man”. This is not sport with them, it is grim business […] We of the West may have to develop new ideas on what is “an amateur” and what isn’t’.

Copyright Siobhan Lyons, 2016

Copyright Siobhan Lyons, 2016

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Mind of an Outlaw: Norman Mailer’s Works Reissued


His feud with Gore Vidal on the Dick Cavett Show is now the stuff of legend, and his abrasive, post-Hemingway mediated persona has fascinated scholars and readers alike. Now the larger-than-life Norman Mailer will have his works reissued to attract younger generations to his fiction. Publishing company Random House will be reissuing Mailer’s work as new paperbacks, while also releasing an unpublished collection of essays penned by Mailer, along with eight books in e-book format. Mailer’s tough-guy exterior, accentuated by his love of boxing, was downplayed by the author’s short-stature and frame. Nevertheless, he earned a reputation as postmodern literature’s ‘bad-boy’. He achieved unprecedented fame with his The Naked and the Dead (1948), a graphic war-novel based on his experience in the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign in World War II. His other famous works include his Why are we in Vietnam? (67), which is about a hunting trip rather than the actual war, The Armies of the Night (68), about the October 1967 March on the Pentagon, though is considered a work of narcissism for Mailer writing about himself in the third person, his controversial Marilyn: A Biography (78) and his popular work Advertisement for Myself (59), a work of self-exposure, where Mailer describes himself as being a “a node in a new electronic landscape of celebrity.” Hemingway, meanwhile, described the book as “a sort of ragtag assembly of his rewrites, second thoughts and ramblings shot through with occasional brilliance.”

His epic but mostly disparaged Ancient Evenings (83) has already been released in digital format, and will be released as a new paperback edition in January 2014, along with his Tough Guys Don’t Dance (84). Mailer’s unpublished essay collection, Mind of an Outlaw, featuring an introduction by Jonathan Lethem, will be available as a paperback on October 15, 2013.

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