Dismembering Marilyn

Forever Marilyn statue in Pioneer Court

“It’s like that scene on the beach in Planet of the Apes. Except it’s Marilyn Monroe instead of the Statue of Liberty. And it’s her giant fiberglass underpants in the background instead of Dr. Zaius.”

If you didn’t swing by Pioneer Court in the last year or so, you missed your chance to see the most controversial piece of public art in Chicago in recent years.

Above you can see the Marilyn Monroe statue by Seward Johnson in pieces, ready to be trucked away.  Though it delighted millions of tourists and the young at heart, large swaths of Chicago’s art community were aghast when it went up.

They asserted that making giant-sized versions of items from popular culture is not art, while they were busy lining up to see the Jeff Koons exhibit of giant-sized versions of items from popular culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 East Chicago Avenue).

The headline of Richard Roeper’s piece for the Chicago Sun-Times, “Goodbye and good riddance, Norma Jean,” summarizes the feelings of those who believe that art has no business being whimsical or uplifting or kitschy. Mr. Roeper wrote, “It took crews about seven hours to make Marilyn go away.”  Unfortunately, he was wrong.  We took our photo almost 12 hours after he published his article saying that Marilyn was long gone.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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