Andrea Mary Marshall has re-designed the cigarette warnings that Mayor Bloomberg has haunted us with on the front of cigarette packets (not to mention the ever-increasing taxes). Her warnings now read “OMG,” “Deliver us from evil,” “Have mercy,” “Holy smoke,” and “Forgive us our sins” instead.
Using Marlboro Red 100 cigarette boxes as her canvases, Marshall paints provocative symbols with acrylic paint on the back of each box in this series titled Marlboro Mary. Although contained within the three-inch length of a cigarette box, these intricate paintings can inflict great emotion.
A banner painted across a cigarette box reads “Mild as Mary” – a reworking of Marlboro’s original slogan, “Mild as May.” Marshall’s new and improved slogan exhibits her attempt to trace the history of Marlboro back to its 1920s origin. In doing so, these works unveil Marlboro’s initial branding as a “woman’s cigarette,” and then follow the company through its transition to the “Marlboro Man,” which artist Richard Prince played with for some time too.
Marlboro Mary consists of five double-sided cigarette packets, each featuring one side with cynical self-portraits of the artist outfitted as a cowboy Virgin Mary, a “contemporary female Marlboro Woman.” The opposite sides feature other controversial reinterpretations of iconography, such as sets of black lungs, (alluding, again, to cigarette warnings) but instead incorporating images of flowers, fetuses, guns, and churches.
Check out Andrea Mary Marshall’s Marlboro Mary series exhibited in GREY AREA’s SoHo showroom.