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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Work of art or a pervert's paradise? Risqué 26ft statue of Marilyn Monroe is unveiled in the Windy City

By Amy Oliver

That pose, that dress, the blonde hair, the luscious lips ...

A 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe towering above tourists in the middle of Chicago was unveiled on Friday to much applause.

Bemused shoppers stopped and stared, a boy tried to crawl up her leg and the men from a wedding party could not resist taking a few photos from all angles.

Scroll down for videos

High and mighty: The curious gather around Seward Johnson's 26ft sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in Chicago

Desperate to keep her identity a secret until Friday, workers who put the statue in place on Thursday had to put a rather unsightly cloth bag over the poor girl's head, albeit it one in red, white and blue.

The statue, by artist Seward Johnson, replicates the actress's famous subway scene in 1955 film The Seven Year Itch and was unveiled on Chicago's Pioneer Court.

In the scene Monroe stands over a subway grate as a breeze from a train passing below blows her skirt over her panties.

It was shot in New York but as the Windy City, Chicago seems like the second best location for such an art work.

Cameras at the ready: While their wives and girlfriends were not there, the men from a wedding party took scores of photos from all different angles

Now THAT'S a Kodak moment! Or at least an iPhone moment

Simply irresistible: A cheeky boy tries to scale her leg while some really enjoy the rear views

It will be on show through the Spring of 2012.

The stainless steel and aluminium sculpture, which weighs a whopping 34,000lbs, has raised more than a few eyebrows.

Not least because visitors to the plaza are at once confronted with Monroe's pert bottom in gleaming white panties and her perfect pins bedecked in white, open-toe kitten heels.

Covered up: A worker puts the finishing touches to the statue on Thursday

What did you do at work today darling? One man touches up the statue's under carriage with paint

Breathtaking views: A worker is seen spraying the statue's panties before the great unveiling on Friday

You missed a bit: Well, Monroe always did have men at her feet

Men have been spotted gawping while their wives get cross and attempt to shield their eyes and lots of people have stopped to take a quick snap of the giantess before she goes public tomorrow.

Not all are happy of course. Abraham Ritchie wrote on Art Chicago Blog the statue was a 'creepy schlock from a fifth-rate sculptor that blights a first-rate public art collection.'

But the Zeller Realty Group, which owns the plaza and now its statue, wants Marilyn to make people think.

...And the real thing: Monroe cools off via the subway in front of Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch

'(Paul Zeller) likes to bring in things that cause a conversation,' said a spokesman from the company. 'They might be controversial, but he likes art that makes people think.'

And if that fails at least her skirt will be a good place to shelter from the rain.

Watch the statue midway through construction



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