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Giant Marilyn Flashes Chicago




The sculpture of ''Forever Marilyn'' at Chicago's Pioneer Court Plaza is by J. Seward Johnson Jr. of New Jersey, generally known for his life-size and life-like ''Man on the Street'' bronzes. This Marilyn is made of aluminum above the waist, and steel below. Photo courtesy of J. Seward Johnson Jr.

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The 26-foot sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in her famous pose in the 1955 film ''The Seven Year Itch'' was unveiled July 25, 2011 at Chicago's Pioneer Court Plaza. If you've every wandering around Chicago on a visit, this is the plaza bounded by the Chicago Tribune Tower on the north and south of where the N. Michigan Ave. Bridge crosses the Chicago River. It's a place tourists remember, particularly if they come unexpectedly upon the interesting statuary on display at the plaza.







Above and below: When LASN was in Chicago for the 2009 ASLA Show, another Seward Johnson piece was catching people's attention in Pioneer Plaza, his rendition of Grant Wood's ''American Gothic.'' A metal moose had also wandered onto the plaza. Photos: Steve Kelly, LASN








The statue, ''Forever Marilyn'' by J. Seward Johnson, promises to be the most photographed spot in the city. Marilyn is just visiting, however. She'll be on display through spring 2012.

''Forever Marilyn'' is part of Johnson's ''iconic'' collection. A former painter, Johnson turned to sculpture in 1968. He's known for life-size bronze figures, which are on display around the world, but also for such dramatic pieces as the 70-ft. ''The Awakening'' sculpture, now at Hains Point (National Park Service) on the southern tip of East Potomac Park in southwest Washington, D.C.

As with most any art piece, some will love it, some will criticize it, and many, no doubt, will just walk under the dress to take a picture of her underwear. A number of years ago, Michigan Avenue was lined with fiberglass cows, so this may qualify as more interesting.


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June 27, 2019, 1:58 am PDT

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