Chicago, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Just in time for the weekend, a 26-foot statue of Marilyn Monroe replicating her famous subway scene in “The Seven Year Itch,” will be unveiled this Friday at 7:00p.m. on Chicago’s Pioneer Court. As of today the statue, by New Jersey based artist Seward Johnson is half-complete with the lower part of Monroe’s body viewable. Visitors to the plaza will see her legs, her iconic white sandals, and the skirt of her white dress as it blows in the wind exposing her “hot” panties. The top part of the statue is carefully wrapped in a patriotic red, white and blue cloth. Update (Sunday, July 17): For a full view of the statue unveiled and reactions go to Marilyn Monroe Unveiled.
Johnson, born in 1930, is famous for his trompe l’oeil painted bronze statues that although criticized for being kitsch always draw attention and controversy. The artist’s work appears around the globe including a 25-foot version of “Unconditional Surrender,” the V-J kiss in Times Square. Chicagoans may remember Johnson’s famous “American Gothic” sculpture that graced Pioneer Court in 2008 or his King Lear statue that spent the summer and fall of 2009 in the same spot.
The Marilyn pose was taken from the 1955 film, “The Seven Year Itch” directed by Billy Wilder. The film which won a Golden Globe award for Marilyn’s co-star Tom Ewell went on to be included in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 American Comedy films of the past 100 years coming in at number 51.
The footage, of Marilyn standing over a subway grate as a breeze from the passing train below causes her skirt to blow up revealing her “panties”, became one of the most iconic scenes of the 20th century. The movie which was filmed on location and on a sound stage in New York was to replicate the corner of Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street but what could be more appropriate than for this scene to be replicated in the “Windy City”.
Check out the original shot in this video:
The statue is located just south of the Tribune Tower in Pioneer Court at 400 N. Michigan. Visitors are welcome to view and take pictures of this striking piece of public art. Zeller Realty Group, is responsible for Pioneer Court’s installations. For more pictures of the Marilyn Monroe bronze go to the home page of WGN radio The statue is expected to remain in place through Spring of 2012.
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