By Sabina Mollot
Three years ago, an exhibition of photos of Marilyn Monroe was held at the art gallery Pop International and, unsurprisingly, was a big success, proving the blonde bombshell’s still got it even as she would have turned 89.
On June 21, that same gallery, owned by Stuyvesant Town residents Jeff Jaffe and his wife Nanette Ross, will once again be celebrating the Hollywood icon with the exhibition “Happy 92nd Birthday, Marilyn!”
“People just love her,” said Jaffe. “Because she was so beautiful, because of her tragic life and because she sustained something no one else has, that kind of fame, I don’t know that anyone else on the planet was like Marilyn Monroe.”
In 2015, buyers who swarmed the show were a mix of vintage photography collectors as well as die-hard Marilyn fans.
Like then, this exhibition will include a mix of well-known shots as well as some rarely seen ones, and it was put together by curator Andrew Weiss. Six photographers’ works will be on display, spanning the 17-year length of Monroe’s career from when she was still called Norma Jean to shortly before her death at the age of 36.
In the mix of color and black and white photography, there will be some well-preserved vintage prints. Prices will run from $2,000-$15,000.
The photographer list is comprised of William Carroll, who was the first person to pay Monroe for a shoot ($20) while she was still working at a factory; Lazlo Willinger, who shot her after Hollywood had begun its transformation of the actress by raising her hairline, lightening her hair and whitening her teeth; and Kashuo Aoki, a steward on a plane where Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were heading to their honeymoon. Milton Greene, a friend of Monroe’s who eventually started a company with her; Bert Stern, who famously did a nude shoot at the Bel Air hotel, and photojournalist George Barris, who photographed Monroe on a beach two weeks before her death, are also included.
Jaffe considers a highlight of the show to be the earliest photos, which were taken in 1945.
“When she was working at a factory, she looked nothing like she did at the end of her life,” he said. “To me, those photos are the most significant, that somebody saw something in her.”
In addition to the photos, two Andy Warhol prints of Monroe will also be on view throughout the exhibition.
Pop International Galleries, which used to be in SoHo, is now located at 195 Bowery. The gallery has showcased art by well known artists in recent years, including Dr. Seuss, as well as emerging ones, including street artists. The Monroe exhibit will remain on view through at least July 10.