“I am a deeply superficial person”

— Andy Warhol, painter, printmaker, filmmaker, graphic artist


powolnyoriginalAndy Warhol was a master of appropriation, copyright issues aside. The original image he references for his now iconic Marilyn Monroe series was this photograph by publicity photographer Frank Powolny. This still is a publicity shot for Marilyn’s 1953 movie “Niagra”. (See additional stills in the video below)


Warhol worked with the printer Sidney Maurer to craft the first and subsequent images of Marilyn which are endlessly emulated by past and present artists.

Why is this? The possible answer posed by the Lying Truth blog:

“His endlessly repeated images of Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley commented on our hero worship.  They also seemed to contain a secret to the sadness of a superficial life.   The famous are our replacements for deities.

from the post “Andy and the Deep Surface”
on the WordPress Blog “The Lying Truth”

By no means an exhaustive list here is a sampling of images spanning the last 50 years: street artist Thierry Guetta (Madonna), Roy Lichtenstein, David La Chapelle (Amanda Lepore), James Rosenquist, Mimmo Rotella, Banksy (Kate Moss)

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Frank Powolny publicity stills on the set of the film Niagra, 1953.