Banksy’s ‘Kate’ encapsulates three icons: firstly, the celebrity Oscar-winning street artist himself, secondly, Marilyn Monroe, and lastly Kate Moss, the 21st century icon of beauty. The work is a unique print through a manual process, so that there are no other works equal to it.
In his provocative and critical style, Banksy draws from Warhol’s representation of Marilyn Monroe in his famous Pop Art repetitive style. Portraying Kate Moss, one of the most controversial faces in the fashion world, with a similar hairstyle to Marilyn’s, Banksy raises questions of fame, celebrity status and changing beauty standards.
Whereas Marilyn was seen as the essence of beauty for her curvaceous physique, Kate Moss has often been quoted saying ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’. The contrasts and similarities between the two make the viewer consider art and representations as a whole, through the passing of time.
One might reconsider the view of Marilyn Monroe as representing the perfect human form, when placing her in the context of a time and an age when magazines portray girls as painfully thin, and when Kate Moss, the most eminent living model, has never kept her use of drugs a secret. Banksy’s ‘Kate’ embodies the 21st century, focusing on its decadence.