Marilyn Monroe Portrait: Money Can Be Beautiful

Monroe is a major icon in American popular culture (Richard Miller / Getty)

After a long silence caused by the Corona pandemic, Christie’s was once again packed, last Monday, in New York, as it is expected to feature a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, made in 1964 by American pop artist Andy Warhol. the title Shot Sage Blue would sell Marilyn, up to $ 200 million.
Estimates were little disappointing, as the painting by Warhol, two years after the death of the United States icon, was sold for $ 195.04 million to the winning bidder, Larry Gagosian, the art dealer who owned the same painting, before selling it in sold. 1986 to its former owners, Thomas.And Doris Aman, it is not clear whether Gagosian bought the painting for display in one of his many galleries, or on behalf of one of his anonymous clients.
Neither Christie’s nor the buyer disclosed more information about the purchase, provided the proceeds of the auction go to a child charity named after the Aman Foundation.
Although the portrait did not succeed in surpassing the record selling price of Salvator Mundi, which was awarded to Leonardo da Vinci at an auction in 2017, it was at the top of the list and has the most expensive American artwork ever sold, and became the most expensive work of art of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger, sold in 2015. The forefront followed a long advertising campaign organized by Christie’s to draw attention to Warhol’s legacy, including the display of the painting on the façade of its Rockefeller headquarters.

Historical considerations increased the materialistic value of the portrait; Far from being one of the most influential works of art on twentieth-century visual culture, Warhol’s painting focuses on America’s most famous pop face, and includes the construction of performing arts provided by Dorothy Podber during one of her visits to Warhol’s studio. , when she the canvas, hit the forehead The painted Marilyn, leaving a hidden scar on the painting, and what was piled up behind her. The mystery of that shot is still not understood today, as there are rumors that Podber asked for Warhol’s permission to shoot the painting with the word “shoot”, and the latter allowed her to do so, because she believes that she wanted to photograph it. Others suggest that the whole incident be staged, with a performative purpose based on verbal manipulation.
Undoubtedly, we are faced with two questions; One is economical and the other is moral, and both try to find the common purpose or benefit that comes from selling a painting at such an exorbitant price; The auction reopened the never-ending debate about the complex and changing relationship between art and the “creative economy” as it was newly called.
The market, according to most critics of the art auction phenomenon, is leading to the commodification or even enslavement of art. Also, the “cultural industry”, according to the Frankfurt School, can be seen as a comprehensive economic and technological system, producing and distributing standardized cultural products, intended to meet the needs created by the system itself, and to encourage consumers to comply with the prevailing norms. In other words, art only becomes original when it can escape from the market, and an “authentic artist,” as Adorno puts it, is one who continues to create pieces even when he can not sell them.
This radical view is contrasted with a more pragmatic one, which views art as an integral part of economic development, and emphasizes the central role of the market in the process of arts autonomy, freeing them from the dependence on religion and power. . The best-known example of this approach is provided by Norbert Elias, in his book The Sociology of Genius, in which he describes how concerto drawings enabled the young Mozart to circumvent the dictates and standards of the nobility.
Many will disagree about the need for economic support for the arts in general, and their young practitioners in particular, so that they can continue to provide important works of art, or perhaps simply ensure a livelihood during their working hours. But the most serious difference of opinion is about the “pricing” of the artwork, to subject it on the one hand to commodity standards, and to attract a larger group of young artists to present “priced” productions in advance, to meet the market standards fits the other side, and that’s exactly what happened just a few days ago, when he announced that Larry Gagosian, Marilyn’s self-portrait, portrayed 27-year-old painter Anna Wyant, becoming the youngest artist to was hired by a wealthy collector. Later this month, her works are expected to fetch at least $ 100,000 at an auction in New York. Who is art in this case? Will a buyer, with a limited income, one day be able to own a painting by the young artist? Or is the idea of ​​owning a painting just another rule in the “out of reach” list, according to the prevailing capitalist economy hierarchy.
The pricing of works of art, especially at such exorbitant prices, not only runs the risk of distorting young artistic approaches, but also has potential for money laundering and tax evasion, and plays a vital role in shaping and directly manipulating public tastes. a symbolic, and not easily refuted. , status which derives its legitimacy from its ‘sacred’ value, materially and historically, as the most excellent piece of all; In other words, the aesthetic standards per se will not only be subject to the “dominance” of the work of art, and to be regarded as a standard that must either be exceeded or imitated.

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Some fans of Warhol’s art may wonder what the position of the alternative artist would be today if he saw the sale of his painting at a price close to the spending of a country on one of his sectors. He will likely echo his famous phrase: “Making money is art,” which has become a slogan for fans of penetrating business strategies through the arts and forging the links between entrepreneurship and art, citing Andy Warhol’s ongoing approach to visuals to empower artists and their institutions. , to build creative and financial businesses that challenge their economic situation. A philosophy that culminated in Warhol’s completion of his famous artwork, in the early 1960s, of the depiction of dollar bills and its completion in 1981, through a series of drawings and paintings of the dollar sign.
‘Money is beautiful’, in Warhol’s own words, but so far it has failed to retain its constant value over the centuries, which distinguishes masterpieces of art.

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