Skip to main content Marilyn Monroe

Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe

May 3, 2008 - July 6, 2008

Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe, on exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center from May 3–July 6, 2008 captures the beauty, sensuality and vulnerability of an American icon, who many have described as the sexiest woman of the 20th Century.

Experience the spark, sex appeal and sensation of Marilyn Monroe through the art of Andy Warhol, Christo, Douglas Kirkland, Robert Indiana, Mel Ramos, Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others. This vivid and diverse exhibition of 286 objects captures Marilyn’s rise to stardom, her private life and public image, through works by more than 80 artists ranging from fashion photographers to Pop painters to international contemporary artists.

“This exhibition provides an intimate look at the enchanting actress who charmed the world with her looks, vulnerability and innocence,” said FAC Curator Tariana Navas-Nieves. “We are happy to bring this special traveling exhibition to Colorado Springs. As an added treat, we’ve invited several local and regional artists to create their own original works of art inspired by Marilyn. We think that their contributions will make this blockbuster event even more memorable.”

During her lifetime, the blonde bombshell captured the attention of the world’s top photographers, who snapped shots of the dazzling star on the sets of her films and in more intimate moments. A visual voyage of Monroe’s rise to stardom, the exhibition features the most famous photographs of Marilyn from the most recognizable moments of her film career; including Sam Shaw’s iconic image of Marilyn standing over the subway grate from Seven Year Itch. Other exhibition highlights include Douglas Kirkland’s bed sheet shot, One Night with Marilyn, Bert Stern’s poignant The Last Sitting, showing a glowing Marilyn with a champagne glass in hand taken six weeks before her death, and, of course, Andy Warhol’s Marilyns.

In the 1960s, Andy Warhol transformed Monroe into an iconic subject of the Pop Art movement, inspiring artists like Robert Indiana and Mel Ramos. Monroe’s timeless appeal continues today as evident in works by Spanish painter Antonio de Felipe and Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura, among many. This exhibit contains nudity.

About Marilyn

A struggling actress who was “discovered” while inspecting parachutes for the army in 1944, Marilyn became the most famous woman in Hollywood, with an acting career that spanned 16 years and 30 films. On the screen she became known for her sex appeal and comedic and serious acting in such classic films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bus Stop, Seven Year Itch, Some like it Hot and How to Marry a Millionaire. The public was also fascinated with her personal love life from her celebrity marriages to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller to her rumored liaison with then President John F. Kennedy.

The screen legend’s alluring image has had a tremendous impact on the art world, beginning in the 1950s and continuing decades after her death even into the new century. In 2007, Marilyn was seen in an Apple iPhone commercial during the Academy Awards. Later that spring, Lemon Marilyn, a portrait by Andy Warhol, which had sold for $250 in 1962, went on the auction blocks for the first time, selling for $28 million last May. Lindsay Lohan made headlines earlier this year by recreating the famous Last Sitting photos with photographer Bert Stern for the New York magazine.

“If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.”
“I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.”
“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”
“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”
“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
— Marilyn Monroe