A big, brash, 26-foot tall blonde is coming to Palm Springs, and she’s causing a stir before getting to town. Seward Johnson’s 2011 sculpture “Forever Marilyn” depicts the truly iconic Marilyn Monroe mid-subway breeze from that famous scene in “The Seven Year Itch” — face smiling with rapture and white skirt billowing upwards.
The statue passed through Palm Springs almost a decade ago, but now a local tourism group has purchased “Forever Marilyn” for $1 million, meaning the desert will be her forever home. While many in town believe the towering statue is a perfect mix of kitsch and retro that jibes with Palm Springs’ mid-century vibe, some say a lot has changed since her 2012-2014 stint.
One faction is taking issue with how the mighty Marilyn portrays women in the post #MeToo era, while another sect is legally fighting the statue’s temporary, three-year placement directly in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum.