Artist Behind Viral John Malkovich Photos Wanted to Critique Social Media

Andy Warhol, Self Portrait (Fright Wig) (1986), and Sandro Miller's version with John Malkovich.
Andy Warhol, Self Portrait (Fright Wig) (1986), and Sandro Miller's version with John Malkovich.

Earlier this week we reported on photographer Sandro Miller‘s viral art project (see “John Malkovich Impersonates Celebrities for Portrait Show“), which stars actor John Malkovich in a variety of pop cultural and art historical garbs, including Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, and Andy Warhol. The results are hilarious, uncanny, and highly sharable—it comes as no surprise that the images were an instant hit.

BBC News reports that in addition to write-ups on highly-trafficked websites like Buzzfeed, Malkovich’s name has received over 20,000 mentions on Twitter since the project was released, which is exactly what Miller had hoped would happen. Sort of. Miller told the BBC that he intended for the project to push back against what he sees as social media’s degradation of photography as an art form. He anticipated that, given both Malkovich’s celebrity and the nature of the project, it would attract attention online, and saw it as something of a teachable moment for a culture he describes as “constantly bombarded with imagery.”

“It’s tough to see all this work come out, and most of it with no thought behind it,” he said. “I was hoping that maybe I might be able to create a little bit of awareness of classic movie iconic imagery. Not just putting an image out to put an image out, but let’s think about what we’re capturing here. Let’s have an idea.” Miller’s idea, it turns out, has captured the split second attention spans of millions of web users.

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