Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Marilyn Monroe Relaxed
May 26, 1992
Original is 8.5 x 11, in pen and ink,
and done on Bristol card stock paper.
This is the only piece I've ever done on Monroe.
I like it because she seems clear eyed and still infused with her own spirit.
* * * * *
The American pantheon of gods and goddesses is made of up super heroes and classic movie stars. Where Greco-roman mythology has Artemis and Diana, American mythology has Wonder Woman. Where India has Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, America has Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. There, in the mix, lies the modern day Venus, Marilyn Monroe. When American viewers were content with newspaper headlines and imagination, this enduring legend was created on the silver screen. Before the onset of the internet and the always buzzing paparazzi took away the mystery surrounding our celebrities, Monroe’s myth bloomed in pictures that had American swooning.

I recently read the memoirs of Andre De Dienes, whose estate upon his death on 1985 revealed unseen treasures of his photography and history with the American Goddess. I fell in love with his work, which is apropos given the subject. He photographed Monroe both before she was famous and during her career. In the early years, they traveled the country together. De Dienes was admittedly in love with her, and willingly submitted his lens to her chronic desire for attention. Where ever they went, men became enamored of her, wished to possess her, and proposed to her. Such was the curse she was born with, I think. But Andre didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he remained loyal to Monroe in his way even after the big screen made her infamous.

Early Monroe by Andre De Dienes

Vintage Marilyn Monroe by Andre De Dienes 1949

Some of the most provocative shots of Monroe were taken by De Dienes in the dead of night, when longing for worship (and no doubt unfulfilled by the motion picture industry) brought Monroe to his door. He obliged her and thus history was perpetuated.

Monroe by Andre De Dienes

Untitled of Marilyn Monroe by Andre De Dienes

Marilyn Monroe, a Goddess in the American pantheon, was the movie industry’s sacrifice before the Age of Aquarius riled up our country’s flower children and feminists. Norma Jean was a girl who wanted a mother. Marilyn Monroe was a sex goddess whose blood was spilled on the black altar of politics.
The tired, empty stare in her eyes, the drooping lids, not sexy but sacrileges, was evidence enough that her spirit had been taken long before her life was.
Good bye Norma Jean.

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