Cynthia Talmadge’s latest solo show Franklin Fifth Helena at 56 Henry is nothing short of a great story. An immersive, architectural installation, Talmadge has created a psychologically complex, visually engaging, technically stunning domestic room. Made entirely of sand paintings, the installation explores the wild, toxic relationship between Marilyn Monroe and her psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson, a topic that has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories in connection to Monroe’s death.
Franklin Fifth Helena is rife with information. There are visual cues and subtle hints across the room, which is in the style of the 15th century Gubbio Studiolo, the famous study decorated with wood-inlay displaying cabinets full of the owner’s objects including books and scientific objects. Borrowing the studiolo format, Talmadge has meticulously covered the walls and ceiling with highly detailed sand paintings.