‘Talk to the Hand’: Marilyn at the Staley-Wise Gallery

“Do you know who my best friend is? Not diamonds. The telephone!”

Marilyn snatches a moment’s privacy (above left) in a photo taken by her friend Sam Shaw at a house she rented in Amagansett, Long Island, during the summer of 1957. It is featured in a new exhibition, Who’s Who, opening today until June 24th at the Staley-Wise Gallery in Manhattan, alongside images by various photographers depicting a host of famous faces partly concealed, including a 1946 photo by Andre de Dienes showing just Marilyn’s hand (above right), also seen in Fragments, the 2010 volume of her private letters, notes and poetry.

Sam Shaw was working on a layout for Look magazine exploring Marilyn’s new life on the East Coast with husband Arthur Miller when he caught her on the telephone. Here are two more images from the series, which later surfaced in his 1979 book, The Joy of Marilyn in the Camera Eye. “She lived for the telephone,” Sam wrote, echoing Marilyn’s prior confession to W.J Weatherby.

The Staley-Wise Gallery hosted a full retrospective for Marilyn back in 2006, with images by De Dienes, Shaw et al (see here.) And a selection of Bert Stern’s photos of Marilyn were displayed there in 2022, marking the 60th anniversary of the so-called ‘Last Sitting.’