Art, Culture, Holland

Ms Monroe expo in Amsterdam, reflecting on a Female Icon

Ms Monroe Nieuwe Kerk

[by Tanja] Ms Monroe would have turned 90 this year. Reason for De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam to reflect on the life of this great style icon. This exhibition about her life and legacy includes numerous personal items from her house at 5, Helena Drive in Brentwood, California.
Hollywood is where big dreams and glittering careers are made and broken just as fast. The place where stars come to live and die. Fantasy and reality merge effortless into one another. Behind the façade of fame and glamour, there often lurks a tragic private life.
Marilyn Monroe’s biography is one of an exceptional iconic heroine. Stunningly beautiful and a star in many successful films she is still worshipped as a role model all over the world. Her childhood however was unhappy and aside from its highlights, her stormy career also knew significant setbacks.

Ms Monroe 90 years

The life and death of Ms Monroe

I find this very intriguing. After her death, her heirs immediately stored all her belongings and they remained unmoved – and untouched – for decades. Only to be auctioned 37 (!) years later. First at Christie’s in New York, later at a number of other auction houses. A considerable amount was purchased by Monroe collector Ted Stampfer. These items are currently on display at this unique exhibition in Amsterdam.
Private objects, including pieces of her famous clothing – yes, The Iconic White Dress -, accessories and personal documents together with photos and film clips give us a unique and intimate view of this iconic woman. Both in and outside the camera’s gaze.

It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone – so far.
__ Marilyn Monroe

This biographical exhibition really opens up Marilyn’s world. The successful and glamorous external appearance as well as her often lonely inner world, full of setbacks, as well as her witty, creative and progressive personality.
Determined to make an extraordinary career in her own way, she gained prestige that still captures the imagination of many. Famous for playing ‘dumb blonde’ characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s, emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality.

ms monroe iconic white dress

True Marilyn Power – a little background story

After her divorce of baseball star Joe DiMaggio in 1955, Marilyn  – born Norma Jeane Baker  – focused her energy on her acting career. To be taken seriously as an actress and to act in drama films was very important to her. But still, roles offered to here were often of naive but attractive girls. Ms Monroe refused them all.
In 1955 Marilyn made a drastic change and moved to New York. She took acting classes with Lee Strasberg. Lee became her confidant and stood by her until her untimely death in ’62.
Founding her own production company together with photographer Milton Greene was a big step towards financial independence. She was inspired by emancipated women as actress Marlene Dietrich.

ms monroe ted stampfer
With her new company, Marilyn wrangled a contract with 20th Century Fox for $ 100,000 per film. Not only that. She also accomplished that she had the freedom to produce with other partners than 20th Century Fox. This was very unusual for an actress to make such arrangements that would limit the power of a big film company.
Her saying ‘I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it’ reflects who she was and who she wanted to be. Ms Monroe was much more emancipated than her looks would tell. Female power is a girls best friend.

90 years Ms Monroe, expo until Feb, 5 2017

ms monroe chanel no.5


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