She's biiiiiig -- and a big tourist magnet -- but the "Forever Marilyn" sculpture in Chicago's Pioneer Court isn't forever. The Seward Johnson sculpture that drew scathing media reviews when it was unveiled in July will remain only until spring 2012.
"I love, love, love it!" gushes an Orlando woman riding a bus as she takes in the gargantuan statue. And there are the tourists posing for their own photos, looking up her skirt or grabbing a leg at the junction of Upper Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. (Check out this photo gallery of the sculpture.)
The statue is based on the iconic pose shot by director Billy Wilder for the 1955 film "The Seven Year Itch." For the shoot, Monroe stood on a New York City subway grate while the whooshing air from the trains below billowed her dress. In my opinion, this statue is more Gulliver than glam -- and shows a lot more panty views than the film ever did. Still, those who adore Monroe might view this as a pilgrimage. And maybe the scale refers to the indelible, larger-than-life mark she left on American culture.
San Diego fans will recognize Johnson as the creator of "Unconditional Surrender" that was unveiled in that city in 2005. That sculpture also memorializes a famous image: a World War II sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day.