Forever Marilyn

Forever Marilyn

The statue on display in Palm Springs
Artist Seward Johnson
Year 2011
Type Painted steel and aluminum
Dimensions 7.9 m (26 ft)
Location Chicago, Illinois (2011–2012)
Palm Springs, California (2012–2014)
Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey (2014–2015)
Bendigo, Australia (2016)
Owner The Sculpture Foundation

Forever Marilyn is a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by Seward Johnson. The statue is a representation of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. Created in July 2011, the statue has been displayed in a variety of locations in the United States as well as in Australia.

Design and locations

The 26-foot-tall (7.9 m) 34,000-pound (15,000 kg) sculpture, manufactured of painted stainless steel and aluminium,[1] is a super-sized tribute to Marilyn Monroe's iconic scene from Billy Wilder's 1955 infidelity comedy, The Seven-Year Itch, with the figure capturing the instant a blast of air from a NYC subway grate raises her white dress.[2]

The statue was displayed at Pioneer Court part of the Magnificent Mile section of Chicago, Illinois, before it was moved to the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, California, in 2012.[3]

It was given a farewell sendoff during the Palm Springs Village Fest on March 27, 2014,[4] and was then relocated to the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, New Jersey as part of a 2014 retrospective honoring Seward Johnson.[1][5] Due to its popularity, the statue remained on display at the GFS until September 2015, after the official end of the retrospective.[6]

The statue was next displayed in 2016 in Rosalind Park in the Australian city of Bendigo in connection with the Bendigo Art Gallery's Marilyn Monroe exhibition.[7]


In August and September 2011 the statue was vandalized three times, most recently being splashed with red paint. In the unsubstantiated opinion of the executive director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, this was because the statue is "laden with political meaning, and provocative meaning and sexual meaning".[8]

The public, however, was often enthusiastic to view the statue: "Forever Marilyn journeyed back to Hamilton in April 2014, arriving at the Grounds for Sculpture on a truck as two dozen people cheered and took pictures. During the cross-country journey, people snapped photos of the sculpture in parking lots and along highways and posted them on social media."[6]

At least one full size counterfeit is known to have been created and displayed, as a discarded sculpture was photographed in a dump after being displayed outside a business center in Guigang, China.[9]


  1. 1 2 "The Retrospective Site Map (See: Icons Revisited Series)" (PDF). Grounds for Sculpture. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  2. "The Seven Year Itch (Trivia)". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. "Forever Marilyn: Palm Springs sets goodbye party". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  4. "Business News: Forever Marilyn to Stay in Palm Springs until Mid-November". The Public Record. 37 (32): 3. July 30, 2013. ISSN 0744-205X. OCLC 8101482.
  5. "Seward Johnson: The Retrospective". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Goodbye Norma Jean: 'Forever Marilyn' sculpture comes down". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  7. "American crew assemble Marilyn sculpture that gallery director Karen Quinlan says will be a conversation-starter", Bendigo Advertiser, February 2, 2016.
  8. Reese, Ronnie. Vandals splash Monroe statue with red paint. Chicago Tribune. September 28, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
  9. "A 26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Sculpture Meets Its End in a Chinese Dump". Retrieved 29 August 2016.

External links

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