Saturday, November 17, 2018

Marilyn – the Woman Behind Her Roles (an exhibition from the collections of Ted Stampfer)

Marilyn Monroe. Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt (1953). Time / Life / Getty Images / Vapriikki exhibition.

The exhibition Marilyn - the Woman Beyond Her Roles. Photo: Vapriikki 2018.

Ted Stampfer, Marilyn Monroe collector and exhibition curator, next to a display of Monroe's appointment book. Photo: Saana Säilynoja / Vapriikki, 2018.

Marilyn – nainen roolien takana / Marilyn – the Woman Behind Her Roles
Exhibition 8 June – 2 December, 2018
Curator: Ted Stampfer.
Producer: Marjo Meriluoto.
Vapriikki, Tampella, Alaverstaanraitti 5, 33100 Tampere, Finland.
Visited on 17 Nov 2018.

Touring exhibition catalogue:
E. von Walchenberg (ed.): Marilyn Monroe's Nachlass. Die Privatsammlung Stampfer / Marilyn Monroe's Estate. The Stampfer Collection. Special Edition. This catalog is published as an exclusive publication to the exhibitions on Marilyn Monroe's private collection by Ted Stampfer and is available accompanying exhibition only. Bilingual in German / English. Large format. ISBN 978-3-00-042854-8. 203 p. Mannheim: Brentwood GmbH, 2013

Vapriikki exhibition catalogue: 
E. von Walchenberg (ed.): Private Marilyn: Suurkokoelma. Marilyn: nainen roolien takana / Private Marilyn. The Ultimate Collection. Marilyn: The Woman Behind Her Roles. This catalogue is published as an exclusive publication to supplement the exhibition of the Private Collection of Ted Stampfer and his collaborating partners. It is not commercially available. Bilingual in Finnish / English. ISBN 978-3-9818756-3-8. 156 p. Mannheim: Brentwood GmbH, 2018

My resume from the exhibition catalogue introduction: The Marilyn Monroe estate remained in storage with Santini & Bros. from 1962 until 1999. Since 1999 it has been getting sold in auctions at Christie's and Julien's. The world's largest private Marilyn Monroe collection (over 1000 individual pieces) has been acquired by Ted Stampfer. It is divided into five main sections: private clothing and accessories, original vintage photographs from the studio and press archives, private documents and books, film documents and props, and memorabilia from contemporaries.

This exhibition focuses on the strong side of Marilyn Monroe: a woman purposefully inventing her own image and advancing her career, unashamedly using her femininity to achieve her goals and striving to free herself from the narrow role reserved for women in the 1950s. 

More than 300 objects from the private collection of Ted Stampfer are on display. Most of them originate from Marilyn Monroe's estate. (My resume from the exhibition catalogue introduction)

AA: Since 1999, the availability of a wealth of materials from the Marilyn Monroe estate has enabled publications such as Marilyn Monroe: Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters (2010) and MM – Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe (2011) and groundbreaking biographies, most importantly the superior two-part magnum opus of Gary Vitacco-Robles (2015).

Ted Stampfer's touring exhibition belongs also to the new wave of Marilyn Monroe revelations. Costumes, personal items, letters, contracts, scripts, telephone books and appointment books help us come closer to the remarkable woman.

The most important legacy has always been with us: the films, the photographs, documentations of live performances, and song recordings. Of all of these elements this exhibition has been mounted in good taste and a passion for the exciting protagonist. I visited it for the second time, and it seems to be constantly well attended.

I like the focus on beauty, elegance, dignity and style in this exhibition. Marilyn Monroe was a woman of her times, but she also always had a timeless quality, as documented here.

There is an emphasis on the career woman: Monroe consciously constructing her star image, instead of being a victim of the star system. It is an important accent. But my personal initial reaction to Monroe was always tinged with embarrassment because of the narrow range of roles offered to the woman of talent. So I guess Monroe was both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster.

I was given the opportunity to give one of the lectures in the context of this exhibition, and among other things I referred to Monroe's contemporaries in Europe such as Sophia Loren (Italy), Brigitte Bardot (France), Harriet Andersson (Sweden) and Anneli Sauli (Finland). All love goddesses of their respective countries – all with the opportunity to expand their scope and play the parts of mature women. All alive as I write these remarks.

This inspired, original and lovingly mounted exhibition can be warmly recommended for both a general audience and the most devoted aficionados.

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