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We can’t stop staring at Marilyn
by Nathan Orme
Aug 01, 2012 | 1867 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christel Citko, owner of Art Source gallery in south Reno, has put together an exhibit of pieces featuring Marilyn Monroe that will be on display all month. The gallery is hosting a “Hot August Marilyn Party” on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Christel Citko, owner of Art Source gallery in south Reno, has put together an exhibit of pieces featuring Marilyn Monroe that will be on display all month. The gallery is hosting a “Hot August Marilyn Party” on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.
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RENO — At this very moment, I have on Chanel No. 5, the radio and nothing else.

Perhaps that is more appealing when it’s Marilyn Monroe saying it, which would explain why her appeal has endured for more than 50 years after her death. The blonde icon has worldwide appeal but a few special connections to Nevada, which is what makes it a little more special to celebrate her life here.

For more than 30 years, art dealer Christel Citko has been honoring the star through exhibitions for a variety of clients and all this month she will do so again at her gallery, Art Source, located at 9748 S. Virginia St. In August, she will dedicate a section of her gallery to elegantly framed artwork depicting Monroe, highlighted by a “Hot August Marilyn Party” from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. A portion of all her gallery sales from the month will benefit the Children’s Cabinet.

“I feel as if I know her,” Citko said about her connection to Marilyn after showing artwork of her for three decades.

The exhibit will change throughout the month as pieces are sold, but on Wednesday it consisted of a variety of photographs, paintings and even wine bottle labels. The latter consists of two large framed pieces each of which contain six to 10 labels depicting Monroe that were produced for wines made by a Napa Valley vineyard. Citko said it is a rare thing to have the labels for a piece of artwork because most of them are still on the bottles that the original purchasers still possess.

Another rare item she has on the wall is a framed reproduction of a page originally printed in a German magazine. The photo is the only one in existence, according to Citko, of Monroe with both brothers John and Bobby Kennedy. The caption reads, “The only photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken with her love, John F., and Bobby Kennedy, much to the embarrassment of the Secret Service.” In the image, Monroe is wearing the dress she wore when she sang the famous, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to JFK.

One of the largest pieces in Citko’s exhibit is a cibachrome — a platinum print of photograph that has a glossier, almost 3-D appearance — of the famous image of a nude Monroe lounging against a red background that appeared as part of a Playboy spread. It is number 199 out of 300 issued and the only one currently available for sale, Citko said.

A piece that will be on the wall in time for Saturday’s party showing Monroe dressed up like Princess Grace is Citko’s personal favorite of the actress.

“I just love the feeling of it,” Citko said. “She looks very vibrant and very happy in it. It’s very elegant as opposed to sexy, the way most people wanted to photograph her. You could see her laughing at herself in that picture.”

No collection of Marilyn Monroe photos in the Silver State would be complete without paying homage to the time she spent in Dayton making the film “The Misfits” with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and written by her one-time husband, playwright Arthur Miller. Framed and hung near the gallery’s front window is the cover of a December 1986 issue of Nevada magazine celebrating the making of the film with a photograph of the cast. Below the cover is a page from the magazine showing Monroe with a a quote saying, “We’re a nation of voyeurs when it comes to Marilyn.”

Saturday’s party celebrating Monroe’s life includes a Marilyn lookalike contest, in which first prize is a framed copy of the last photograph to be taken of the star valued at $600. Every entrant into the contest will receive a $20 gift certificate to Art Source gallery.
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