Until May 15, visitors to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection can view Marilyn Monroe’s personal and portable 1957 Magnavox black-and-white television. The set is on loan to the McMichael from Toronto’s MZTV Museum of Television & Archive. Purchased at a Christie’s auction in 1999, the precious set – displaying the inevitable wear and tear from Monroe’s frequent travels – was in her Brentwood, California home the night she died in August 1962.
In addition, the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive has loaned its exclusive video collection of Monroe’s three rare TV appearances. Visitors can watch Monroe’s purring delivery in a commercial for Royal Triton Gasoline, her deft comic appearance as the stereotypical “dumb blonde” on CBS’ “The Jack Benny Show”, and her interview on Edward R. Murrow’s “Person to Person”.
“Although it has been nearly fifty years since Marilyn Monroe’s death, the world remains fascinated by her glamourous and paradoxical life. Thanks to Moses’ generosity, visitors will now be able to experience her personal and stylish copper-finished TV set – the perfect addition to our exhibition,” explained Katerina Atanassova, the McMichael’s chief curator.
The late iconic film star is currently the theme of two popular exhibitions at the McMichael:
The exhibition Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe contains a selection of 150 engaging interpretations of Marilyn Monroe by artists including Andy Warhol, Allen Jones, Robert Indiana, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, and the Toronto-born, Fort Erie-raised Douglas Kirkland who shot the then-world’s hottest star for the entertainment magazine Look. Collectively, the works offer an impressive commentary on the nature of femininity, consumer culture and 20th century celebrity. Highlights include: Monroe’s first nude photographs (1949); standing over a subway grate while her skirt blows upwards during the filming of The Seven Year Itch (1954); entertaining US troops in Korea (1954); singing for President Kennedy’s birthday (1962); and the actress’ famous last sitting with photographer Bert Stern just weeks before her death (1962).
Marilyn in Canada provides a Canadian connection to Monroe and includes, among others, works by George S. Zimbel, an American photographer who immigrated to Canada in 1971. Zimbel participated in the original photo session with Marilyn Monroe that was staged in 1954 during the filming of The Seven Year Itch.
In 1992, Moses Znaimer founded the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive housing the world’s largest private collection of rare pre-WWII and vintage television sets and associated popular culture in the world, some 10,000 objects in all. In addition to Marilyn Monroe’s 1957 Magnavox, highlights include: the first star of television – Felix the Cat; the 1939 World’s Fair “Phantom Teleceiver” that introduced commercial television to North America; a two storey mural charting the international “Race for Television”; and the largest collection of pre-war televisions on display anywhere in the world. Moses’ sets have appeared at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa/Hull, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, and at the Cinémathèque québécoise in Montreal, Quebec to which he donated the collection in 2008. Selections of his sets are on permanent display in both Montreal and Toronto. Guided tours are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Call 416.599.7339 for information or visit www.mztv.com.
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their
contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,700 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10am to 4pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com.
Gallery: 905.893.1121 ext. 2529
Toronto Office: 416.489.5868