Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Destinations: The Debate Surrounding the “Forever Marilyn” Statue (Chicago)

Forever Marilyn  Chicago is a tourist mecca. On a sunny summer day when the humidity index isn’t off the charts, it’s the perfect time for enjoying the waterfront and what it has to offer.

Among the newest sights on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is the new aluminum and tin sculpture installation called “Forever Marilyn.” The 26-foot-tall piece replicates Monroe’s iconic pose in the billowing white dress over the NYC subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. Unveiled on July 15th, 2011, the 11-ton sculpture sits in Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue where it meets the Chicago River. “Forever Marilyn” has had a polarizing effect on the city, drawing controversy for reasons, including:

1. Her panties are on full display. You can look up her skirt and some deem this view is in poor taste. (Blog author rebuttal: The cut on the panties is modest.)

2. Some question what message displaying an icon famous for her disastrous love life delivers to the public about women. (Blog author rebuttal: This piece is freestanding art. Can I not enjoy it at face value (no pun intended) as the image that I’ve seen referenced many times over the years?)

3. High-brows call it kitsch and not real art. (Blog author rebuttal: I happen to love it and on a separate note, what’s wrong with kitsch?)

4. They object to it’s misplacement nestled among the lovely stately architecture of the beloved Chicago landscape. (Blog author rebuttal: It only enhances the architecture around her.)

5. The sculpture has no Chicago connection. (Blog author rebuttal: The controversy has remedied that issue.)

I overhead several visitors remarking about how “neat, awesome” and “interesting” a piece it is. The members of the constant crowd of varied ages gathered around her with smiles plastered across their faces as they lined up to get pictures taken with Monroe’s likeness.

The famous legs with some hangers-onMy question is, as the Chicago winter approaches, will the "City of Broad Shoulders" outfit the gal with a coat and/or knitted legwarmers to protect her from the harsh winds coming off the lakefront?

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