On Bombshells and Public Art

by John d'Addario on August 9, 2011

The Chicago sculpture that isn't a favorite among locals. (image via

The Wall Street Journal looks at the new Marilyn Monroe sculpture that recently went up in Chicago’s Loop and provides the answers to a bunch of questions we’ve been wondering about ourselves, like “How tall is it?” (answer: 26 feet) and “Who made it?” (answer: artist Seward Johnson, who also happens to be the 80-year-old grandson of one of the founders of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire) and “What the hell does Marilyn in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ have to do with Chicago?” (answer: absolutely nothing).

While the article quotes a local merchant as saying homegrown reaction to the sculpture has been “almost uniformly negative,” it seems to be a runway (flyaway?) success among visitors to the Windy City, at least in measured in terms of the number of photos tagged with “Marilyn+Chicago” that have been posted on Flickr since it was unveiled last month. (That said, it still lags several thousand photos behind a certain nearby bean-shaped crowd pleaser in the popularity sweepstakes.)

We’re just wondering if we’re the only ones who think it looks like she’s passing wind above all those tiny little tourists gathering behind her to snap pictures up her skirt when “Forever Marilyn” is viewed from a certain angle. (Answer: we probably are.)



  • Get Hyperallergic in your Inbox!

    Subscribe to our email newsletter. (Daily or Weekly)

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.
  • She’s windswept. That’s what it has to do with Chicago…I guess.

  • Art spy

    Looks like a Cindy Sherman photo gone wrong…or right?

  • Art spy

    Also you can find a lot more of Seward Johnson’s sculpture at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, including Déjeuner Déjá Vu, a remake of Manet’s and Were You Invited, a remake of a Renoir

Previous post:

Next post: