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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Women With Guns

posted by on August 19 at 10:00 AM

news-graphics-2008-_656788a.jpgAt the start of this year, I discovered Niki the Shooter. Now there’s Dorothy.

Have you ever heard of Warhol’s Shot Red Marilyn? I can’t believe I hadn’t. I discovered it reading Richard Polsky’s book I Bought Andy Warhol last week. (An earlier post about the book, in which I do not recommend the full read, is here.)

Turns out a stack of Warhol Marilyns were, well, shot in the head as they leaned innocently against a wall. The woman reponsible was Dorothy Podber, an artist in her own right and all-around bad girl (pictured above, slumping and scowling in her animal prints). She died earlier this year. From her obituary:

Certainly the most outrageous [trick] was her unsolicited contribution to a few of Warhol’s “Marilyn” silk-screen paintings. In the fall of 1964 Ms. Podber, a friend of the photographer and Warhol regular Billy Name, visited Warhol’s Factory on East 47th Street in Manhattan with her Great Dane (named Carmen Miranda or Yvonne De Carlo, depending on the account). Ms. Podber asked Warhol if she could shoot a stack of the “Marilyn” paintings; he apparently thought that she wanted to take pictures of them and consented.

But she produced a pistol and fired at them, penetrating three or four. One of them, “Shot Red Marilyn,” with a repaired bullet hole over the left eyebrow, sold for $4 million in 1989, at the time setting a record at auction for a Warhol work.

“After she left,” Mr. Name told Ms. Bergmann, “Andy came over to me and said: ‘Please make sure Dorothy doesn’t come over here anymore. She’s too scary.’ ”

Warhol made the Marilyns shortly after Monroe died, based on a press image from the filming of Niagara, featuring her face in all its gobsmackingly constructed glory. In the name of cosmetic realignment, even the Shot Red Marilyn has been repaired, and, why, you can buy a print of that unblemished face here, with a frame to match the sofa.

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I just heard about "Shot Marilyn" for the first time recently too, but not in that book. I was reading "Remake / Remodel" by Michael Bracewell, about the genesis of Roxy Music. It's not really about Roxy Music, though; Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno don't even meet until page 335 out of 370 or so. It's mostly about art school, at the University of Newcastle, where Ferry studied under Richard Hamilton (arguably the first Pop artist). Another of his students was in New York, working in Warhol's studio when the paintings were shot. Bizarre and fascinating story.

Posted by Fnarf | August 19, 2008 10:34 AM

personally, I like the Piss paintings betters...urine is much less violent and threatening than bullets.

Posted by michael strangeways | August 19, 2008 10:39 AM
Posted by bob | August 19, 2008 10:56 AM
Posted by bob | August 19, 2008 10:59 AM

I've never heard of her before. She's beautiful. With a story like that, why hasn't she been in a John Waters movie?

Posted by beelzebufo | August 19, 2008 1:48 PM

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