Madonna has been called out for “gross and inappropriate” photos reenacting Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 death scene for a new photoshoot for V Magazine.
“For some morbid and eerie reason, Madonna decides to re-create Marilyn Monroe’s death bed,” a Twitter user wrote about the photo, with another adding, “Yuck. Gross and inappropriate.”
In heavily retouched photos shot by photographer Steven Klein, the 63-year-old channels the iconic blonde bombshell in her new V Magazine cover shoot.
Bert Stern’s “The Last Sitting,” the final photoshoot Monroe sat for just six weeks before her untimely death at the age of 36, inspired the spread.
The photo in question shows the “Like A Virgin” singer lying face down on a mattress, exposing her bottom, while prescription pill bottles can be seen on her nightstand in another.
Monroe was discovered dead in her home, having overdosed on pills the night before and that was the end.
Another Twitter user who took issues with the photo tweeted “This isn’t cool. Glamorizing suicide is the only takeaway once the shock factor wears off.” While another adds, “Must be sad to still need so much attention. And this is so gross.”
Another critic who thinks Madonna follows Monroe too closely commented, “She always had a creepy fascination with Marilyn.”
Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” inspired the pop star’s 1984 music video for “Material Girl.” She also played Monroe in an “SNL” sketch in 1985 and dressed up as the late star for an Oscars afterparty in 1991, wearing a sparkling strapless gown and a white fluffy stole.
The shoot, according to photographer Klein, is less about Marilyn herself and more about her ability to emote through the lens, which is what he was attempting to capture.
“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,” he said in a press statement.
He went on, “When I sent Madonna the photos, she was really taken by the incandescent fragility of Marilyn at that moment in her life. We decided to find a hotel suite and try to capture the liaison between a star and the camera, the mystery, and magic of this creative collaboration.”