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Press Release for Monday, January 11, 2010

MOCA Celebrates Life, Influence of Marilyn Monroe


Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida, reintroduces Marilyn Monroe, the 20th century’s most iconic actress, to a new generation this winter through an upcoming art exhibition and award-winning one-person play.


The art exhibition “Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe” begins Friday, Jan. 22, and runs through Sunday, April 4, capturing the beauty, sensuality and vulnerability of an American icon, who many have described as the sexiest woman of the 20th century. Tickets are $8, non-members; and $5, seniors, students and military. There will also be an opening-night reception and preview at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, which is free to members and $30 for non-members.

Further bringing Monroe to life will be “Marilyn…Forever Blonde,” a one-woman play that tells the actress’ story in her own words and music, running every weekend starting Thursday, Feb. 11, through Sunday, March 7. Tickets are $29, members; $34, non-members; $24, students and military. Make it a complete night out with a pre-theater dinner at MOCA’s Café Nola on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, starting Thursday, Feb. 18, through Saturday, March 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Experience the spark, sex appeal and sensation of Monroe at the “Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe” exhibition through the art of Andy Warhol, Christo, Douglas Kirkland, Robert Indiana, Mel Ramos, Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others. This vivid and diverse exhibition of 307 objects captures her rise to stardom, her private life and public image, through works by more than 80 artists, ranging from fashion photographers to pop art painters to international contemporary artists.


“The exhibit provides a unique opportunity for participants to experience the pop culture appeal of an American icon,” said MOCA Director Deborah Broder. “Through a variety of mediums and styles, ‘Life as a Legend’juxtaposes prints and paintings alongside candid imagery and photography. This uniquely enables the viewer to witness the cultural impact and artistic response to a truly emblematic figure.”


During her lifetime, Monroe captured the attention of the world’s top photographers, who snapped shots of the dazzling star on the sets of her films and in more intimate moments. A visual voyage of her rise to stardom, the exhibition features the most famous photographs of Monroe from the most recognizable moments of her film career; including Sam Shaw’s iconic image of her standing over the subway grate from “Seven Year Itch.” Other exhibition highlights include Kirkland’s bed sheet shot, “One Night with Marilyn,” Stern’s poignant “The Last Sitting,” showing a glowing Monroe with a champagne glass in hand taken six weeks before her death, and, of course, Warhol’s “Marilyns.” ‘Life as a Legend’ was curated by Artoma, Hamburg, Germany, and organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.


“Marilyn…Forever Blonde” is set in 1962 during what would be Monroe’s last photo shoot. At 36, she is still beautiful, yet has lost the girlish charm that made her Hollywood’s biggest star in her early 20s. Divorced for the third time and living alone, Monroe is tired of the sex symbol label, and longs to be respected for her talent rather than the character she has created on the silver screen. She wonders what it would be like to do it all over again.


“This is Marilyn’s story in her own words and music, not studio press agent hype and not the words of hundreds of authors who have attempted to tell her story from their own personal point of view,” said Greg Thompson, writer and producer of the one-woman play. “This story line has been painstakingly researched from hundreds of quotes from Marilyn herself and the lavish production is a recreation of what might have been Marilyn’s last chance to tell her story in her own words.”

The San Francisco Daily News hailed the play as “…oneof the greatest performances of the modern stage” and it has played to sold-out houses all over the world. Lead actress Sunny Thompson has wonthree Best Acting awards for her true-to-life performance and the show has been named the “Theatrical Event of the Year.”


Tickets for both the art exhibit and the play can be purchased at MOCA at (904) 366-6911 or on their Web site at .


“Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe” is sponsored by the following supporters: Exhibition Sponsors: Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Magazine, Main St. America Group, Miriam’s Jewelry; Season Sponsors: Mrs. Donald M. Cox, Haskell, Teresa de B. and Arthur W. Milam, River Branch Foundation, and WJCT Public Broadcasting; and Contributing Sponsors: Agility Press, AT&T: The Real Yellow Pages, Clearwire, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, The Dalton Agency and the State of Florida, Division of Public Affairs. “Marilyn: Forever Blonde” is sponsored by the Hilton Garden Inn.


The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a non-profit, visual arts educational institution, is a cultural resource of the University of North Florida and serves the community through exhibitions, collections, educational programs, outreach and publications designed to enhance an understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art with particular emphasis on works created after 1960. One of the largest institutions of its kind in the Southeast, MOCA Jacksonville is funded in part by the University of North Florida; the City of Jacksonville; Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and through the generous support of our members. For more information about MOCA including programs, hours and ticket pricing, please visit on-line at  or call (904) 366-6911.