Iconic pop superstar Madonna has never been a stranger to controversy, but some seem to think she’s taken it too far in a new, macabre photoshoot where the singer recreated the 1962 death scene of another Hollywood icon, Marilyn Monroe.
The project was part of a cover shoot for V Magazine and is described as “an homage to the glamour and tragedy” of Monroe’s death.
The photographer, Steven Klein, said that the shoot was inspired by Monroe’s shoot with Bert Stern called, “The Last Sitting” in 1962 at the Bel Air hotel just weeks before she passed away.
“What was supposed to be a three-hour sitting, turned into a three-day whirlwind, working night and day,” Klein said of Monroe’s final shoot, “Drinking, laughing, shooting photos, editing, sleeping, and then taking more photos–a private affair between two artists which rarely happens anymore.”
For some morbid and eerie reason, Madonna decides to re-create Marilyn Monroe’s death bed. The black and white photo is actually Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom where she died. pic.twitter.com/beQJ1Av3Ij
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 29, 2021
Klein noted that Madonna was taken by “the incandescent fragility of Marilyn at that moment in her life.”
Many people, however, were not taken with the “artistic vision” of the shoot, but instead markedly disturbed by its poor taste.
“For some morbid and eerie reason, Madonna decides to re-create Marilyn Monroe’s death bed. The black and white photo is actually Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom where she died,” Mike Sington commented on Twitter.
In one photo, Madonna is sitting on a floor that is strewn with photos, roses, books, an old-fashioned phone. An array of pills on a nightstand is visible in the back as the pop star sits, looking at the camera while wearing nothing but a white fur coat.
Headline-‘Gross and inappropriate’: Madonna, 63, SLAMMED for recreating Marilyn Monroe’s DEATH bed scene as singer lays face down on a mattress. Ron says “I’m not tweeting the whole story, but I will say I’ve been critical of Madge, & this just makes my point pic.twitter.com/9wvzrJVpjs
— Ron Milner (@RonMilnerBoodle) October 29, 2021
Madonna channeling Marilyn Monroe for V Magazine. pic.twitter.com/DloF0eizrf
— جوزفين (@JosphineMamdouh) October 29, 2021
— TONYINBHAM (@TT0121) October 30, 2021
✨ @Madonna graces the cover of V133, our new winter issue!
— Emerson Dardinelhes (@Dardinelhes) October 29, 2021
Another photo depicts the present-day pop icon sleeping on a bed while wearing the same fur and white satin gloves. Some fans believe that that photo could be making light of Monroe’s death which was ruled a “probable suicide.”
Another Twitter user chimed in, calling the shots “ghoulish“.
The photo that has stirred up the most controversy imitated the aftermath of Monroe’s death.
In the recreation, Madonna, 63, laid on a bed with her back to the camera in nothing but fishnets, heels and white satin gloves with a cross necklace turned backward to fall on the star’s back.
Monroe died of a barbiturate overdose in 1962 at the age of 36, alone in her bedroom.
“This isn’t cool. Glamorizing suicide is the only takeaway once the shock factor wears off,” a Twitter user criticized.
“We were not interested in recreating the images exactly but more importantly, we wanted to explore the relationship between photographer and subject. Both the friendship and the artistic process, and how art can imitate life and vice versa,” Klein explained.
The photos received heavy criticism online, as many noted Madonna’s decades-long fascination with the deceased icon.
Throughout her career, the pop star has emulated Monroe’s iconic classic beauty in projects and in her style. In the music video for Madonna’s 1984 hit, “Material Girl,” Madonna imitated Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
The pop star once played Monroe in a 1985 Saturday Night Live sketch, and at the 1991 Oscars, she dressed up as the deceased icon in a strapless gown and white fur stole.
The goal of the shoot was to “capture the liaison between a star and the camera, the mystery, and magic of this creative collaboration,” according to the photographer.
“We hope we have done justice to the great work of Bert Stern and Marilyn Monroe,” Klein stated.
Unfortunately, Klein and his iconic subject seem to have missed the mark:
She is trying desperately to be relevant.
— Mojo (@Mojo93256582) October 29, 2021
Stop giving her an audience. This is sick and nothing good could come of it
— Bubba (@bubbapens) October 29, 2021
Must be sad to still need so much attention. And this is so gross.
— Vaxxed and wearing a mask #BLM (@NancyKel63104) October 29, 2021
She always had a creepy fascination with Marilyn.
— Patti B (@BPatti15) October 29, 2021
this makes me queasy . seems to me in bad taste.
— christina m. brooks (@runewarrior) October 29, 2021
That’s so disturbing.
— Denise Evans (@niserbugs) October 29, 2021
Yuck. Gross and inappropriate.
— Indy (@Indy131313Indy) October 29, 2021
— Susie Derkins, MD (is this sh*t over yet?) (@ras_le_bol_us) October 29, 2021
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