Forever Marilyn

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Forever Marilyn
Forever Marilyn.jpg
ArtistSeward Johnson
TypePainted steel and aluminum
Dimensions7.9 m (26 ft)
LocationChicago, IL (2011–12)
Palm Springs, CA (2012–14)
Hamilton Township, NJ (2014–15)
Bendigo, Australia (2016)
Stamford, CT (2018–)
OwnerThe Sculpture Foundation

Forever Marilyn is a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by Seward Johnson. The statue is a representation of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from Billy Wilder's film The Seven Year Itch. Created in 2011, the statue has been displayed in a variety of locations in the United States, as well as in Australia.

Design and locations[edit]

The 26-foot-tall (7.9 m) 34,000-pound (15,000 kg) sculpture, manufactured of painted stainless steel and aluminium,[1] is a super-sized tribute to Marilyn Monroe's iconic scene from Billy Wilder's 1955 infidelity comedy, The Seven-Year Itch, with the figure capturing the instant a blast of air from a NYC subway grate raises her white dress.[2]

The statue was displayed at Pioneer Court part of the Magnificent Mile section of Chicago, Illinois, before it was moved to the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, California, in 2012.[3]

It was given a farewell sendoff during the Palm Springs Village Fest on March 27, 2014,[4] and was then relocated to the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, New Jersey as part of a 2014 retrospective honoring Seward Johnson.[1][5] Due to its popularity, the statue remained on display at the GFS until September 2015, after the official end of the retrospective.[6]

The statue was then displayed in 2016 in Rosalind Park in the Australian city of Bendigo in connection with the Bendigo Art Gallery's Marilyn Monroe exhibition.[7]

In 2018, the statue was displayed at Latham Park in Stamford, Connecticut, as part of a large public art exhibition honoring the works of Seward Johnson. Thirty-six sculptures were placed throughout streets and parks in Downtown Stamford, with Forever Marilyn being the highlight of the exhibit.[8] The statue sparked controversy when it was placed in Stamford with complaints arising due to her appearing to flash her underwear at the First Congregational Church in .[9][10][11][12]

On 25 September 2019 Palm Springs mayor Robert Moon announced the statue's return to Palm Springs as a permanent fixture.[13] On 3 February 2021 it was announced that the statue – long stored in a dismantled state in New Jersey – would be erected on Museum Way just east of the Palm Springs Art Museum with an unveiling date of 18 April 2021. According to the announcement, Forever Marilyn is set to remain in Palm Springs for up to three years: in two years time the statue's local economic impact is scheduled to be reviewed and its future decided.[14][15] As of June 2021 litigation seeking to block the erection of Forever Marilyn has continued in the California courts.[16]


A version of Grounds For Sculpture.

In August and September 2011 the statue was vandalized three times, most recently being splashed with red paint. According to the executive director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, "In our society, we have little room for sexually expressive images ... The social contract doesn't work, because it is itself laden with political meaning, and provocative meaning and sexual meaning."[17]

The public, however, remains enthusiastic: "Forever Marilyn journeyed back to Hamilton in April 2014, arriving at the Grounds for Sculpture on a truck as two dozen people cheered and took pictures. During the cross-country journey, people snapped photos of the sculpture in parking lots and along highways and posted them on social media."[6]

At least one full size counterfeit is known to have been created and displayed, as a discarded sculpture was photographed in a dump after being displayed outside a business center in Guigang, China.[18]

In 2021, the statue was debated on the tv programme Good Morning Britain. The statue was defended from accusations of misogyny by Monroe impersonator Suzie Kennedy.[19]


  1. ^ a b "The Retrospective Site Map (See: Icons Revisited Series)" (PDF). Grounds for Sculpture. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  2. ^ "The Seven Year Itch (Trivia)". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Forever Marilyn: Palm Springs sets goodbye party". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Seward Johnson: The Retrospective". Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b "Goodbye Norma Jean: Forever Marilyn sculpture comes down". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  7. ^ "American crew assemble Marilyn sculpture that gallery director Karen Quinlan says will be a conversation-starter", Bendigo Advertiser, February 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Timeless – The Works of Seward Johnson". Stamford Downtown – This is the place!. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  9. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (2018-06-11). "Church Is Taking Appearance Of Gigantic Marilyn Monroe Statue In Stride". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  10. ^ "Statue of Marilyn Monroe famously exposing her rear displayed near church". New York Post. 2018-06-08. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  11. ^ Cromley, Janet (2018-06-09). "Marilyn Monroe Statue Outside Church Gets Tongues Wagging". Newser. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  12. ^ "The day in pictures : 15 photographs that made today's news". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Rode, Erin (June 1, 2021). "Court denies latest effort to block Forever Marilyn installation". Desert Sun. USA Today Network.
  17. ^ Reese, Ronnie. Vandals splash Monroe statue with red paint. Chicago Tribune. September 28, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
  18. ^ "A 26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Sculpture Meets Its End in a Chinese Dump". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  19. ^ Griffin, Louise (2021-05-26). "Marilyn Monroe impersonator hits back at claims statue 'encourages upskirting'". Metro. Retrieved 2021-05-28.

External links[edit]