An Analysis of Andy Warhol's Gold Marilyn Monroe (1962) Essay

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The sixties were a time of social and political change in America, and the art world was not left untouched. Early in the decade a new movement focused on popular culture and national icons began to develop. It was aptly named Pop art. "Many critics were alarmed by Pop, uncertain whether it was embracing or parodying popular culture and fearful that it threatened the survival of both modernist art and high culture..." (Stokstad 1101) Pop artists were not the first to make cultural statements with their work, however controversial art always draws criticism and attention. One of the most well known artists of the Pop movement was Andy Warhol, a young commerial illustrator from manhattan. Warhol's use of popular icons and brands as the focus…show more content…
Her face is turned toward the viewer. The natural environment of the woman has been erased. Instead she is floating on a large golden canvas. There are no other objects or decoration in the work. The woman portrayed in the painting is the famous movie star Marilyn Monroe. The photograph that Warhol used for this piece is a publicity still from the 1953 movie Niagra.(Museum of Modern Art) Marilyn Monroe has always been known, and always will be known as our nations most famous sex symbol. Her personal life was even more interesting and exciting to the public than her films. She was married several times, and the mysterious events surrounding her death were rumored to be the result of an affair with President John F. Kennedy. Warhol chose the year of Monroe's death, declared a suicide, to create this piece. Her troubled personal life and untimely death only made Warhol's painting more powerful. He displays Monroe at her best. She is young and beautiful with styled hair and a made up face-yet inside she was empty. By glorifying her, Warhol shows her vulnerability. She was an icon to millions, yet the constant demands from fans and the media drove her into the downward spiral which ultimately ended her life. This piece was created during a time of political and social change. Increased political awareness and a focus on celebrity demanded art that was more

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