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AIRMAIL: Bert Stern: Marilyn Monroe—The Last Sitting, 1962

The American photographer Bert Stern worked for Vogue in 1962, and written into his contract was a 10-page photo essay on a subject of his choice. Stern chose America’s blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, and for a shoot in June asked her to the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. The photographs are still provocative today. Monroe clowns and camps. She’s naked, her breasts barely veiled. Or she’s lolling between white sheets, sipping wine. Three months later, on August 4, the 36-year-old actress was found dead in Brentwood, a probable suicide, and Stern’s pictures—Monroe’s last sitting—went down in history. This exhibition displays 60 photographs from that spring session in L.A., selected in 2007 by Stern himself. —E.C.

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