The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, October 17, 2021

Iconic or sexist? Palm Springs mulls a Marilyn Monroe statue
In this file photo curious spectators gather around Seward Johnson's 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, in her most famous wind-blown pose, on Michigan Ave. Friday, July 15, 2011 in Chicago.

by Jori Finkel

PALM SPRINGS (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Politicians in Palm Springs, California, view “Forever Marilyn” — a giant sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, with her white skirt blown up above her waist — as a fun, nostalgic tourist attraction. But local cultural leaders are painting it as sexist and sensationalist, and they are speaking out against the city’s plans to move the sculpture to a site next to the Palm Springs Art Museum.

From 2012 to 2014, the sculpture, by Seward Johnson, presided over downtown Palm Springs. This month, the City Council voted via a Zoom meeting to bring it back, with financing from a local hotel consortium, and place it on Museum Way, the street leading to the museum.

The museum’s director, Louis Grachos, has urged Council members to reconsider, calling the sculpture “sexually charged and disrespectful” and inappropriate for the roughly 80,000 school-age children served yearly by the museum. “When you exit the museum, you are going to see the exposed backside of a 26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe, including her underwear,” he explained by phone this week. “That’s not the message we want to give to our community.”

The museum’s previous three directors (Elizabeth Armstrong, Steve Nash and Janice Lyle), Modernism Week Chairman William Kopelk and designer Trina Turk have also spoken out against the sculpture’s placement. In a joint op-ed published in The Desert Sun after the Council meeting, they warned that the artwork is “blatantly sexist” and “devalues the architectural brand that has been so successful at drawing tourists to Palm Springs.”

Johnson, who died in March, is known for making richly detailed and highly interactive sculptural versions of famous paintings by the likes of Monet and van Gogh. He created the Marilyn statue in 2011 after the scene from the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch” that shows the actress standing above a subway grate with her pleated white dress flying up. It was first installed in Chicago, where it was widely panned by art critics, with Abraham Ritchie calling it “creepy schlock by a fifth-rate sculptor.”

During its stay in Palm Springs, the sculpture gained more of a fan base as a meeting point and photo destination, with some posing underneath the dress, looking up. And several residents are excited for the return of the artwork, which has since traveled to Bendigo, Australia, and Stamford, Connecticut.

Palm Springs residents John Marksbury and Chuck Steinman wrote in a letter to The Desert Sun: “While not a tourism panacea, and no Michelangelo, ‘Forever Marilyn’ is truly an iconic symbol of the city’s brand. She represents the golden age of Hollywood and the era that put Palm Springs on the map as a chic resort, establishing our city as a mid-century architectural mecca.”

Grachos, who joined the museum in 2019 and has not seen the sculpture in person, said he understands that some people might enjoy it as a “novelty experience.” But he insists that it undercuts the museum’s values: “If city leadership feels it’s a great asset for visitors, I would say find another place for it.”

The next City Council meeting where this could become an agenda item is scheduled for Dec. 10.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

November 27, 2020

The Hermitage Amsterdam reopens with an exhibition about knights and the Romanovs

Mauritshuis first gigapixel museum in the world

Prehistoric mega-shark raised its young in nurseries: study

'A love letter to Detroit,' on vellum and chrome

Iconic or sexist? Palm Springs mulls a Marilyn Monroe statue

Best art books of 2020

Photographers donate prints of music artists to raise money for Stagehand at Prints For Music

Land-art installation by Michel Comte: The first stage of 'The Centre of the World' will be completed in 2021

Alexandra Tolstoy: An Interior by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler 100% sold by lot

A soaring monument to beauty in China is stirring passions. Mostly anger.

Museum to record Londoners' Covid dreams

Carved limestone from ancient Chinese caves could reach $60,000 in Heritage Asian Art Auction

Uniforms from Little Bighorn Medal of Honor winner headed to Heritage Auctions

A virtual exhibition highlights work by 40 outstanding contemporary fiber artists from China and the USA

'Fairy Tales and Photography, or, Another look at Cinderella' by Jo Spence to be published in full

Relive the tradition with Victorian Yuletide at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Geoffrey Palmer, Judi Dench's sitcom co-star, is dead at 93

At Ballet Theater, new videos and signs of a new era

Ian Finkel, 'world's greatest xylophonist,' dies at 72

Dena Dietrich, who found TV fame as Mother Nature, dies at 91

Inside the 'other history' of comic book superheroes

Camille Walala reimagines Oxford Street: pedestrianised, plant-filled and people-focused

A table is not just for Christmas: Festive ideas from the Cotswolds

Mona announces Boxing Day reopening

Dementia May Never Improve, but Many Patients Still Can Learn

Main Challenges for International Students in America

Online Canvas and Print Gallery Wall Decor Galore Opens with New Leadership

Tips on How to Make the Most Out of Your Temp Agency Toronto Job

Canines- in- Need find Care and Love in Villages Homes

Rules To Double Your Earnings In A Game Of Online Sports Betting

Cyber Law Learning Courses & Degrees

Brighten your special day with Enchanting Jewellery

A Very Small Family Gathering Will Do This Time

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful