9 thoughts on “Giant Marilyn Monroe Statue

  1. One of the quite striking things about all the upskirt photos people are taking is how very orderly it all is. There is nothing around the statue to describe a boundary, no tapes for creating lines for photo-taking. Yet while dozens of people will be crowded round, they will very civilly and deferentially give way to each other, as each takes a turn standing under the skirt for a photo. I suppose that’s part of what’s so mind-boggling – people being as spontaneously and uncoercedly civil as one ever sees them in an unorganized, crowded public space, but once each gets his or her “turn,” the whole point of waiting proves to be making gestures at Marilyn’s crotch, using finger binoculars to look at it, or humping her leg for a photo. After getting the requisite photo, each person then steps down to let another one go and do the same. It’s much more orderly and indeed friendly than the line at, say, the Art Institute.

    After watching more than a dozen people do this over the space of 10 minutes (and only one person *not* take a picture somehow gesturing at her crotch or humping her leg), it was hard not to see that whatever the original point of the piece, it has functionally become a site for taking such photos. That seems to be what it is for and about.

  2. How depressing. (And oddly true, Amy, the line at the Art Institute is much pushier!)

    My poor city.

  3. I don’t think there’s anything tasteless about the statue. It’s people’s reactions to it that are tasteless.

  4. I like the statues by the artist (J Seward Johnson http://phoenix.about.com/library/weekly/aa032900b.htm) but this seems very unfortunate. It isn’t typical of his work, either, which makes me wonder who commissioned it and why (I’ll post what I find out later.) It’s hard to imagine this problem would have been totally unanticipated.

    I think a great artwork would be filming the behavior that Amy Olberding described in her post. I don’t live in Chicago. Any takers?

  5. OK, this sculpture was specifically commissioned by Zeller of the Zeller Realty group. So it wasn’t a case of a museum acquiring an artist’s existing work.

    Now, it gets even yukkier: here is what he says about why he commissioned it: “With Marilyn, we hope to rekindle an attitude and optimism from an era that this iconic figure represents – a time when we, as a nation and a people, were proud, productive, optimistic and self-assured, if a bit mischievous. We seek a return to American Exceptionalism, and trust Marilyn will propel our attitudes in the right direction,” said Zeller.”

    From: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110715006090/en/Monumental-Marilyn-Monroe-Sculpture-Seward-Johnson-Debuts

  6. Geez, sgssgssgs, thanks for posting that (I guess!). I think this is the most depressing thing I’ve read today.

    Seeking a ‘return’ to American Exceptionalism, good grief.

  7. I find it particularly disturbing that all people remember about Marylin Monroe is her sexy image, most of the time in this pose. She was a feminist, she was politically involved, she was almost obsessed with the rights of black women (thanks to her Ella Fitzgerald could make her way in the jazz world), she self-educated herself by reading Freud and Joyce and she put passion in teaching herself politics.
    But nobody will ever make a statue of Monroe reading Ulysses and this is the sad truth of the world. It also says a lot about the objectifying of women.

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