I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection
- Dates: November 12, 2004 through April 3, 2005
- Organizing Department: Prints, Drawings and Photographs
- Collections: Photography
- Location: This exhibition is no longer on view in Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor
- Description: I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection. [11/12/2004 - 04/03/2005]. Installation view.
- Citation: Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. (PDP_E_2004_Marilyn)
- Source: color slide 1 x 1.5 in. (3 x 4 cm)
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September 2004: Some 200 photographs of Marilyn Monroe by thirty-nine photographers will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from November 12, 2004, through March 20, 2005, in the Robert E. Blum Gallery on the Museum’s first floor. Among the photographers whose work will be featured are Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Cornell Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre De Dienes, Robert Frank, Milton Greene, Phillipe Halsman, Ben Ross, Bert Stern, Weegee, Gary Winogrand, and George Zimbel.
I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection will present photographic portraits dating from 1945, when Marilyn (then Norma Jeane Baker) was 19 years old, to images taken just a few weeks before her death in 1962 at the age of 36. The collection, which can be viewed as a virtual who’s who of photographers of the postwar period (1950–60), includes a unique series of fifty-nine images shot by Bert Stern in 1962, titled “The Last Sitting.” Behind-the-scenes photographs, pictures that capture private moments, and documentary footage of Marilyn during many periods of her career will also be featured.
Leon and Michaela Constantiner’s extensive collection, which has been amassed by Mr. Constantiner, focuses on no particular collecting style or photographer. Instead, it is based on his love for Marilyn and an appreciation of her beauty, talent, and sensitivity. He selects works that affect him emotionally, and each one of the pieces has a place in his heart. Among the more unusual photos is an image by Cecil Beaton titled Marilyn Monroe Holding Rose that belonged to Marilyn herself; a nude photograph titled Red Marilyn by Tom Kelly that was used as the centerfold for the first issue of Playboy magazine; a revealing collection of contact sheets by Bert Stern and Earl Leaf; a rare image of Marilyn by Lawrence Schiller taken during her final, unfinished film Something’s Got to Give; and shots by three different photographers taken at the same time during the famous Seven Year Itch shoot—the one in which Marilyn’s skirt is blown upward while she is standing on a subway grate.
I Wanna Be Loved By You will explore how the power of photography helped transmute the shy Norma Jeane into the most iconic screen goddess of all time—the myth that is Marilyn Monroe. The product of a difficult childhood, Marilyn used the transformative power of the camera lens as a means of escape into a fantasy world of love and adoration. Her beauty became the embodiment of the ideal woman: enchanting, glamorous, seductive.
In the last years of her life, Marilyn sought to change her dumb-blond image into one of an educated and serious actress. She cultivated her interest in poetry, art, and literature, reading the classics voraciously and studying at UCLA. Shortly after that she moved to New York and began to take classes from Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio. It was in New York that she met writer and intellectual Arthur Miller. They were married in 1956 and divorced in 1961. Afterwards she moved back to Los Angeles to resume her acting career.
This exhibition is being co-curated by Marilyn L. Kushner, Curator and Chair, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; and Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer, Department of Design. A variety of public programs will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition, including gallery talks, spoken word and music programs, a Marilyn look-alike contest, and film screenings.