Marilyn Monroe in Chicago | part 1

Forever Marilyn by Seward Johnson

Big art news for Pop Art fans: Seward Johnson’s 26 ft Marilyn Monroe sculpture was unveiled in Chicago this week next to TribuneTower.

Talk about larger than life!

 I love big fun art all over the city – from “The Batcolumn”, to “The Picasso” to “The Bean” – and “The Marilyn” is right up my alley. I was also interested to hear what the buzz was about colossal Marilyn in her “The Seven Year Itch” pose. And here is a sampling:

From Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times (who calls the movie “Inception” a masterpiece) – “…this thing is just hideous.”

From Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune – “…as tawdry as a peep show.”

From Abraham Ritchie of the Chicago Art Blog – “It’s creepy schlock from a fifth-rate sculptor that blights a first-rate public art collection.”

Comments from Lee Bey and others were in the same vein. 

Geez – what a bunch of killjoys. What really annoyed the critics was the way people were posing and taking pictures looking up Marilyn’s white dress between her legs.  Well, you know, boys will be boys, and sometimes men will be boys, and sometimes even women will be girls.

If it offends you to see tourists having their picture taken next to a sculpture, go hang out by the Dubuffet’s sculpture, “Chicago”, in front of the James Thompson Center.  The next time a tourist takes a picture of that one will probably be the first time.

What offends me is that there are people – not just kids but young adults – who don’t even know who Marilyn Monroe was? Never even heard of her. One of the most beautiful women of all time, an American icon and extremely under-rated actress, and she is already fading into obscurity.

If nothing else, maybe this sculpture will keep her memory alive a little longer. So I urge you, not only to see the sculpture, but afterwards go home and watch a Marilyn Monroe movie. You want to see her in one of the greatest movies ever? See “Some Like it Hot”. Like silly comedies? Try “The Seven Year Itch”. Marilyn as a Femme Fatale? ”Niagara”.  Film noir your thing? “Asphalt Jungle”. Crazy baby-sitter movies? “Don’t Bother to Knock”.  (Yes, seriously, she played the crazy baby sitter.)

For me, I just want to thank Seward Johnson, for bringing the fun to Michigan Avenue– because hideous, tawdry, creepy schlocky art is OK by me.

About terrylucartblog1

I am an artist creating art and writing about art, culture and politics
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