Madonna has landed in hot waters for recreating Marilyn Monroe's deathbed photos in the latest photoshoot for V Magazine. The shoot's theme was inspired by Bert Stern’s The Last Sitting photoshoot with Monroe, completed just six weeks before her tragic demise in 1962.
The Papa Don’t Preach hitmaker attempted to pay tribute to the legend’s final photos in her magazine shoot but left several fans disappointed in the process. Madonna can be seen in a signature Marilyn Monroe look posing over a bed next to prescription pills in the recreated images.
In another photo, she was seen lying still and face down on the mattress with her back towards the camera. On August 4, 1962, Monroe was found dead in a similar situation inside her bedroom. Her death was ruled as a possible suicide due to an overdose of prescription pills.
Twitter calls out Madonna for recreating Marilyn Monroe's final photoshoot
Madonna is undoubtedly one of the most recognized and acclaimed figures in popular culture. The singer is often considered the “Queen of Pop” and has been declared the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records.
The pop star is one of the most famous artists, primarily influenced by Marilyn Monroe. The singer directly referenced Monroe’s “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” performance from Gentlemen Prefers Blonde in her 1985 music video Material Girl.
During a 1987 interview with The Rolling Stone, Madonna even opened up about her connection with Monroe:
"I do feel something for Marilyn Monroe. A sympathy. Because in those days, you were really a slave to the whole Hollywood machinery, and unless you had the strength to pull yourself out of it, you were just trapped. I think she really didn't know what she was getting herself into and simply made herself vulnerable, and I feel a bond with that."
She portrayed the legend twice during her Saturday Night Live performances in 1993 and 1995, respectively. She also appeared in a Monroe-inspired photoshoot with Steven Meisel for Vanity Fair in 1991.
However, Madonna received severe backlash for recreating Marilyn Monroe’s deathbed photos in her latest photoshoot. Netizens flocked to Twitter to slam the artist for her “inappropriate” recreation:
Despite the backlash, Madonna has continued to promote her V Magazine photoshoot on social media. Speaking to the outlet, she also denounced the ongoing concept of “cancel culture”:
“No one's allowed to speak their mind right now. No one's allowed to say what they really think about things for fear of being canceled, cancel culture. In cancel culture, disturbing the peace is probably an act of treason. The thing is the quieter you get, the more fearful you get, the more dangerous anything is."
Photographer Steven Klein backs Madonna
Madonna’s latest photoshoot likely aimed to touch upon the tragic fate of the iconic actress. However, photographer Steven Klein told the magazine that the images serve as a medium to showcase the relationship between the subject and photographer rather than being a recreation:
“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 also mentioned that Madonna decided to pay tribute to Monroe as she was mesmerized by the raw fragility of the pop icon during the final phase of her life:
“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.”
Unfortunately, fans were utterly unimpressed with the pop star’s photoshoot and deemed the attempt as “disrespectful”. Several people took to social media to criticize the singer for glorifying a tragedy from the past.
As reactions regarding Madonna’s photoshoot continue to pour in online, it remains to be seen if the Grammy Award winner will address the criticism in the days to come.