Abstract

Andy Warhol, the ultimate copycat, is famously remembered for claiming in 1963: “I want to be a machine.” What is often forgotten, however, is that Warhol adopted the techniques of photo-silkscreening days after Marilyn Monroe committed suicide in August 1962. I argue that by copying and multiplying a publicity photo of Monroe taken for her 1953 film Niagara, Warhol spaces-out the supposed “interiority” of suicide by linking it metonymically with Niagara Falls, a top suicide destination in America. Similarly, Michel Foucault, in the inaugural issue of Gai Pied, the first French magazine for homosexuals, publishes a justification of suicide as a kind of impersonal technique, entitled “The Simplest of Pleasures” (1979). In this paper, I investigate the relationship between these two techniques—or arts—of suicide, and the way both Warhol and Foucault attempt to (dis)place the author(ity) of “suicide” as a supposedly “personal,” “intentional” act.

This content is only available as a PDF.