• Sat, Jul 16 2011

Giant Marilyn Monroe Statue Unveiled In Chicago

Her pose is taken from the iconic white dress scene in The Seven Year Itch. Now, tourists from all over the world can look up her dress forever. I’m sure she’s up in heaven feeling very happy about that. But not everyone likes it!

Killjoy art critic Abraham Ritchie writes in Chicago Art Blog that the sculpture is “downright creepy and sexist.” “This is not art that could be described as ‘making people think,’” he continues. “Not by a long shot. It’s creepy schlock from a fifth-rate sculptor that blights a first-rate public art collection.” I bet he’d rather they’d bought some piles of uniform cubes by Sol LeWitt. So thoughtful, those piles of cubes.

But wait, there’s more.

This sculpture caters to cheap titillation, titillation that is in itself pathetic.  By making Monroe’s panties visible, Johnson encourages voyeurism.  When I visited it recently there were no less than three men taking pictures of Monroe’s rear. If a clumsily rendered giantess  puts wind in your sails, you have issues.

Monroe is presented as an object for male consumption (though females may certainly participate), as a transitory moment is creepily frozen in time.  The eroticism of the actual scene in the movie is drained out as the moment lasts eternally.

First he’s mad that the sculpture is titillating, and then he’s mad that it’s not titillating enough? Also, copy editing, dude. Using the word “creepy” as both an adjective and an adverb in the same short post is not good.

I don’t think anyone is getting their jollies from looking at the sculpture’s panty-clad ass. Whatever you think of it, that image of Marilyn Monroe is a beloved, kitschy part of American culture that’s worthy of artistic preservation. Despite her sad end, Marilyn continues to make people smile from beyond the grave; it’s how she gets to live forever. It might not be the most profound artistic statement in the world, but public art rarely is. It is for goofy tourists to pose in front of, and sometimes, for crusties to crouch and smoke cigarettes under.

And as for Marilyn’s utter inappropriateness as a topic of good art: try telling that to Andy Warhol. Oh wait, Andy Warhol would never talk to you because he has no patience for whiny adjective repeaters. Also, he is dead.

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  • trish

    yeah, no, that’s not “kitschy” or fun, it’s tasteless.

  • MsBorgia

    That’s just a really ugly statue.

  • miinxi

    i think its pretty awesome and OF COURSE your going to look up her skirt!

  • Kristen

    I get both points, but I think I’m more on the “killjoy” side here. Marilyn Monroe, especially is this famous pose, already IS preserved in American culture. I think it’s safe to say her legacy will stay alive without this fairly ugly statue keeping it going.

    I don’t hate it, but certainly there are much better pieces of art out there that could have been displayed instead.

  • Aaron

    Dude…

    “I don’t think anyone is getting their jollies from looking at the sculpture’s panty-clad ass. ”

    The sad thing is…they ARE. The masses already think art is soup cans…now they think giant camel toe is to appreciated? Come on buddy. It’s not kitsch, it’s horrendous.

    And fuck how many times and different ways the guy says creepy, you want to attack a critique? Use logic, not lawyerism.

    For example, instead of attacking your points, (i’d actually have to read your whole post…*shudder*) I could just call you a sleezy retard who obviously has no taste. Instead, i have chosen to attack you on a logical grounding, thusly:

    Giant camel toe = not art.