Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe - Pink

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 September, 2005, 12:00am

Who? Andy Warhol

When? 1960s-1980s

Where? New York City

Reproductions of Warhol's Marilyn series can be seen on hand bags, pencil cases and restaurant walls throughout the west.

In this work, Warhol has taken an image of Marilyn Monroe's face and made it look unreal by adding bright, flat planes of colour.

He made many copies of the same image but added different colours.

He used the medium of silk screening - where an image is 'stencilled' onto a porous material. You can apply only one colour of paint at a time in silk screening, and this may have, in part, led to the bold, simple colouring of his works.

He chose to use silk screening because the same work can be easily reproduced over and over again.

The medium is the message in Warhol's work - he purposefully made art that could be easily reproduced as a comment on the society of the 1960s (and today) where everything from food to clothes to household goods are mass-produced.

In the modern world, our experiences are often second hand - we see images on television, or reproduced in magazines, instead of in real life. We are overloaded with information and constant advertising.

Warhol's work embodies a very different idea of art from the traditional one - where art is special, unique and original.

Warhol even hired assistants to help create and re-create his works in a factory studio.

Warhol was a leader of the Pop Art movement. 'Pop' refers to popular, and the movement tried to make art that would be relevant to most people.

You may have seen some of Warhol's other creations, like his series of Campbell soup cans or Coca Cola bottles. The average person could relate to the images, unlike in the past when art was for the rich, or in modern art where you had to study the subject to be able to understand it.

In Warhol's Marilyn series, Monroe becomes just another product manufactured by Hollywood. Warhol indulges our shallow fascination with television, movies and famous people.

It is the art of 'cool' - there's no depth of feeling, just glamour.

Warhol's series is all about fame - a famous work, a famous actress, a famous artist.