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.