Screen icon and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe was a favorite subject of many Pop artists, and she figures prominently in more than fifteen works in the Museum’s collection. Here, in a tribute to the actress created soon after her suicide in 1962, Rosenquist inverted and fragmented her image and superimposed a portion of her name over it. He also included a segment of the brand name “Coca-Cola” in its trademark script, rendered upside down. Pairing Monroe with this famous logo suggests that she is as iconic an example of American popular culture as the ubiquitous soft drink.
Gallery label from 2011.
Gripped by the suicide of screen icon Marilyn Monroe, James Rosenquist created a stylized, fragmented, and inverted portrait of Monroe interwoven and superimposed with disjointed parts of Marilyn’s name, image, and the trademark script of the Coca-Cola logo. By fragmenting Monroe’s image and combining her with another popular product, Rosenquist comments on how the late actress’s life and career had been co-opted and consumed by her superstar status.
In 1964, Rosenquist explained: “Painting is probably more exciting than advertising—so why shouldn’t it be done with that power and gusto, that impact? When I use a combination of fragments of things, the fragments or objects or real things are caustic to one another, and the title is also caustic to the fragments.”