25 Like Marilyns 25 Like Michelles

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by [Michelle Flagg]

As creator of the notion of 15 minutes of fame, Andy Warhol was interested in the transient nature of celebrity, evidenced in his prints of pop cultural icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. American society, as he saw it, was a place in which anybody could become famous and remain so as long as he or she could continue to capture the attention of the media. This cult of celebrity has proven to only grow stronger in the years after Warhol's work, as resources like television and the internet provide greater outlets for gaining the world's notice.

In the digital realm of the internet, not only can every average person find fame, he can also find an entirely new identity. Websites that utilize face recognition software allow individuals to experience a taste of both- to discover their physical celebrity matches and to present their likenesses to the online world.  In my update of Warhol's "25 Colored Marilyns," I explore this expanding cult of celebrity by creating a similarly composed piece of 25 "Like Marilyns," people whose images were posted on celebrity face recognition sites as Marilyn Monroe matches. These individuals, through their physical likeness to the American icon, achieve their own short moments of fame, though with a mimicked or borrowed identity of a celebrity who has existed for a time greater than that even of her own life.

To further investigate this play of fame and identity through facial appearance, I created a work of 25 "Like Michelles." The 25 images that compose this piece are 25 celebrity matches that I received when submitting an image of myself, displayed in a piece that could be appropriately titled "25 Michelles," to face recognition websites.

 All images, aside from Warhol's original, were created in Adobe Illustrator as vector graphics and then exported as jpeg files.

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