Modern Art Monday Presents: Rosalyn Drexler, Marilyn Pursued By Death

Marilyn Pursued By Death
Marilyn Pursued by Death, 1963 (Photo By Gail)

Roslyn Drexler (b. 1926) is usually associated with Pop art, but her work often explores the darker backstories and seedier manifestations of postwar media culture and gender roles. She clipped her subjects from printed materials — here, a news photograph of Marilyn Monroe fleeing the paparazzi with her bodyguard in tow — then enlarged and collaged them onto canvas, and painted over the image. In the artist’s words, her source images were “hidden but present, like a disturbing memory.” On the day that this source photograph was taken in 1956, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller were to announce their upcoming marriage; in the frenzy to cover the event, a car carrying reporters crashed, killing at least one member of the press. Drexler’s painting is an eerie evocation of the sometimes tragic results of our society’s insatiable desire for celebrity news.

Photographed at the Whitney Museum in NYC.

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