So what about our society’s current impossible hamster wheel of aspiration? It’s fame, baby! And, especially in the case of Marilyn Monroe, it had repeated forms and plenty of standard props. It’s softly curled hair and pouty lips. An hourglass figure. Heels! Laughing at everyone’s jokes! No obviously competitive or ambitious behavior! Demure but also still alluring. It’s all unachievable madness, to be honest.
So we see the ties here, right? And how the Marilyn portraits just highlight the idea of fame that she had become the quintessential example of? Jennifer Dyer points out in her article, “The Metaphysic of the Mundate: Understanding Andy Warhol’s Serial Imagery” that, “Considered primarily in terms of their subject matter, Warhol’s images continue and rework a tradition of Christian iconography.” [pg. 36]
Since each of these examples – the Caesars, the Saints, and the Famous – was supremely successful, we’re also seeing that the art style isn’t the main thing. It’s the honorific placement in piazzas or churches or art museums.
And it’s the translation of a person into an ideal through repetition and aspiration. Like these logos without their company names. A little marketing fairy gets their wings when you recognize that that blue P is PayPal.