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26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe bound for California

May 02, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe
(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago…)

Californians will soon have to chance to see what's hidden beneath Marilyn Monroe's skirt.

"Forever Marilyn," the 26-foot-tall statue that has become a controversial fixture on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, will leave its post Monday.

NBC Chicago reports the sculpture by Seward Johnson will be installed next month in Palm Springs at Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Canyon drives and stay until next June. The Sculpture Foundation, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization that provided "Forever Marilyn" to Chicago at no cost, will release the exact location and more details Friday.

The piece recreates the iconic moment from the 1955 movie "The Seven Year Itch" when a drafty New York subway grate blows the sex symbol's skirt well above her knees.

The piece hasn't received the warmest reception from the Windy City since its July debut. Some called the undergarment-baring pose sexist, while VirtualTourist.com dubbed "Forever Marilyn" as the No. 1 piece of bad public art -- ahead of a Bewitched statue in Salem, Mass.

The statuesque Monroe, which stands in contrast to the city's surrounding skyscrapers, has rarely been alone inthe last nine months -- locals and tourists who barely reach past her ankles have peaked, mimicked and gawked at the sculpture or just come to touch her toes.

"She's the most photographed thing we've had on the plaza," Melissa Farrell of the Zeller Realty Group, owners of the Pioneer Court, told the Chicago Tribune. "All hours of the day people are posing with her, taking pictures. We see it on our security cameras. She always has a crowd."

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