By Jonathan Moreno
The “Forever Marilyn” statue in downtown Palm Springs has been on the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive since May 2012.Forever Marilyn is on loan from The Sculpture Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides public artwork. Palm Springs Resort, the organizers behind the statue finding it’s home in the valley, have renegotiated for a 90-day extension.
The sculpture was designed by Seward Johnson, who captured Marilyn Monroe’s pose when she stood on a subway grate. The photograph by Bernard of Hollywood from the film, “The Seven Year Itch” captures the iconic moment when her skirt blew from the breeze. The 26 ft. statue has become a tourist attraction in downtown Palm Springs.
On Friday May 10, 2013 a free movie was screened outdoors at the location where the statue stands. A short preview of the 2010 film, “Pretty Little Doggie” was screened before Marilyn Monroe’s 1952 film “Monkey Business.”
More films will be shown, throughout the summer. The Outdoor Film Series will screen some of Monroe’s movies in Downtown Palm Springs. The films are, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on July 13, Some Like it Hot on July 20, How to Marry a Millionaire on July 27 and to close out the outdoor movie series, The Seven Year Itch on August 3. Previously, the statue’s home was in Chicago’s Pioneer Court, where it stood for 10 months. The tribute to the movie icon weighs 34,000 pounds, and was dismantled by crane in early May 2012. Transporting the statue nearly 2,000 miles to the Desert cost around $78,000.
“Forever Marilyn,” has received mixed reviews from some people who claim itis a terrible piece of art. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote an article bashing the sculpture, saying it brought out the worst of the city and calling it, “hideous.” Acts of vandalism occurred on the sculpture during it’s time in Chicago. The $78,000 fee to bring “Marilyn” to the valley included an insurance policy which required the Sculpture Foundation to hire a company to stop vandals from defacing the art work.
While the sculpture has received some negativity and has been vandalized, it still was a popular attraction in Chicago. The same popularity has extended here in the Valley, with many people going to the location of the statue to take their picture with the movie icon.
Director of the Marks Art Center and College of The Desert professor, Lisa Soccio. says the 26 foot statue is a good thing for this area. Soccio who is in the Palm Springs Art Museum education committee also adds that the sculpture brought those who are not necessarily art followers to Palm Springs. Though the statue is not going to make it’s home in this area, “Palm Springs learned how having a sculpture like this one can bring fun and attention.”