|Location||Palm Springs, California|
Forever Marilyn is a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by Seward Johnson. The statue is a representative of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. Inaugurated in July 2011, the statue currently stands in Palm Springs, California after being moved from Chicago.
Design and location
The 26-foot-tall 34,000 pound sculpture, manufactured of painted stainless steel and aluminum, is a super-sized sculptural tribute to Marilyn Monroe's iconic scene from Billy Wilder's 1955 infidelity comedy, The Seven-Year Itch, with the figure imitating the instant that a blast of air raises her white dress. It was built in New Jersey before being transported to Pioneer Court, part of the Magnificent Mile section of Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
In May 2012, Forever Marilyn was moved from Pioneer Court to Palm Springs, California. It is now located in downtown on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way. In July 2013 P.S. Resorts announced that The Sculpture Foundation, owners of Forever Marilyn, would be moving the statute to New Jersey for a 2014 exhibit honoring Johnson at the 42-acre Grounds For Sculpture.
The original Chicago location has featured numerous statues over the years and Forever Marilyn is Johnson's third such. Between December 2008 and February 2010 his 25-foot-tall God Bless America stood there. It was inspired by Grant Wood's famous painting American Gothic which is on display in the Art Institute of Chicago. Before that, Johnson's 20-foot-tall King Lear statue stood there.
The statue quickly became a popular photo opportunity for tourists, much to the disdain of local critics. Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, questioned the relevance of the statue to Chicago given that the film was not filmed or set in the city. Roeper went on to criticise those taking photographs:
Even worse than the sculpture itself is the photo-op behavior it’s inspiring. Men (and women) licking Marilyn’s leg, gawking up her skirt, pointing at her giant panties as they leer and laugh. It’s not that the sculpture is shocking or sexist or obscene – but it’s definitely bringing out the juvenile goofball in many of us.—Richard Roeper
In August and September 2011 the statue was vandalised three times, most recently being splashed with red paint. This was because the statue, according to the executive director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, is "laden with political meaning, and provocative meaning and sexual meaning".
- Monumental statue of Marilyn Monroe. Art Media Agency. July 19, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
- Roeper, Richard. Marilyn Monroe's giant blowing skirt sculpture brings out the worst. Chicago Sun-Times. July 17, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
- "Business News: Forever Marilyn to Stay in Palm Springs until Mid-November". The Public Record 37 (32): 3. July 30, 2013. ISSN 0744-205X. OCLC 8101482.
- 'American Gothic' sculpture removed from Michigan Avenue. Chicago Breaking News Center. February 26, 2010. Accessed October 2, 2011.
- Viera, Lauren. Marilyn Monroe sculpture goes up on Michigan Avenue. July 12, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
- Reese, Ronnie. Vandals splash Monroe statue with red paint. Chicago Tribune. September 28, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.