Visual Art Women With Guns
posted by August 19 at 10:00 AMon
At 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.