When Marilyn Left the Sixties Behind

When Marilyn died, the 1960s had barely begun – but like her, this explosive decade would not soon be forgotten. In May 1962, her performance of ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ at Madison Square Garden ensured she would forever be linked to the Kennedy administration.

Her death that August was perhaps the first in a series of tragic exits over the coming years, inspiring Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Diptych’ and the birth of a new art movement, Pop – or as curator Alan Solomon described it at the time, ‘New Art’ – reflecting the ‘rawness and disorder of the metropolitan scene.’

New York: 1962-1964, an exhibition at the Jewish Museum on 92nd & 5th until January 2023, looks back at this tumultuous period with 150 works of art by Warhol and his contemporaries.

This exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name, with images of Marilyn by Bert Stern and decollage artist Mimmo Rotella; a stark New York Mirror front page, reporting her death in Los Angeles on August 5, 1962; and a press photo showing the electronic message board of the New York Times Building that night. (She was previously featured in the museum’s 2015 exhibition, Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn.)

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