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‘Forever Marilyn’ Sculpture Nears Return To Downtown Palm Springs

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An enormous sculpture depicting Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress-flying pose from the 1955 romantic comedy "The Seven Year Itch" is expected to return to Palm Springs early next year, tourism officials said today.

PS Resorts, a nonprofit tourism organization, is in the final stages of purchasing the 26-foot-tall sculpture dubbed "Forever Marilyn" for about $1 million, according to Aftab Dada, the organization's chairman.

"The contract will be signed very, very soon," he told City News Service.

Dada said he expects the statue to be installed at the corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way, just east of the Palm Springs Art Museum, sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

The Palm Springs City Council approved a location agreement with PS Resorts on November 13. The agreement includes a term of up to three years, and requires periodic updates back to the council.

More Details: Palm Springs City Council approves location for ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture

Dada said he would like to see the statue remain permanently.

After two years, the statue's local economic impact will be measured by an outside firm, he said.

The 17-ton Marilyn statue crafted of steel and aluminum was first unveiled in Chicago in 2011 before moving to the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Taquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs in 2012, where it resided for about two years.

The statue's return wasn't without some controversy, particularly from some who think the statue could send the wrong message during the "me too" era.

In a letter to the city council, Louis Grahos, the head of the Palm Springs Art Museum described the statue as "kitsch at best and in poor taste" when it comes to issues such as gender and identity.

"Yeah, it could offend a lot of people," desert visitor Amy Laforteza told News Channel 3 in November.

Dada, meanwhile, lauded it for being an economic powerhouse that previously brought the city millions of dollars of free publicity during its first rendezvous in Palm Springs.

"She really put Palm Springs on the worldwide map,'' he said. "She is definitely a huge draw and an unbelievable magnets to tourists."

City Manager David Ready previously said the statue was a "tourism phenomenon'' during its first appearance in the city.

Dada said "Forever Marilyn" helped jumpstart the local economy during the Great Recession, and that he hopes the statue can work that same magic again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Forever Marilyn'' was designed by artist Seward Johnson, who died in
March.

The humongous sculpture recreates the moment in "The Seven Year Itch" where Monroe's white dress surges up toward her waist as she stands on a windy Manhattan subway grate.

"Marilyn has come to represent beauty, and the white dress blowing up around her is a type of teasing sensuality,'' Johnson once said. "There is something about her pose, the exuberance for life without inhibition, it expresses an uninhibited sense of our own vibrancy."

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