The Burchfield Penney Art Center, fresh off its announcement of a major permanent outdoor art installation, will open a series of new exhibitions on Friday as part of its monthly M&T Second Fridays program.
Perhaps the most alluring of these is “Marilyn,” a collection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe by former Fort Erie resident Douglas Kirkland, who photographed the famed actress at the height of her popularity about a year before her death in 1962. Kirkland’s shots of Monroe splayed out on white bedsheets and looking knowingly into the camera show her as the very definition of photogenic.
The session, according to Kirkland’s recollection in a Burchfield Penney release, was fraught with sexual tension.
“Yes, she proposed my getting into bed with her, and what red-blooded young man wouldn’t?” Kirkland said. “The exception was I had a wife and two kids back home, and I grew up going to Sunday school, and something just stopped me.”
Kirkland’s brief run-in with Monroe was only a small blip on his wide-ranging career, which included a long stint on the staff of Life magazine. He has photographed Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland and dozens of others, and has published many books, including “James Cameron’s Titanic,” “Freeze Frame” and “Coco Chanel: Three Weeks.”