Chicago may have just given Palm Springs the ultimate white elephant gift.
A 26-foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe posing in her famous "The Seven Year Itch" scene is making its way toward California after spending a year on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.
The statue -- titled "Forever Marilyn" -- was panned by critics and locals alike, and named among the nation's top 10 pieces of bad public art by VirtualTourist.com. The piece was vandalized multiple times, once with red plaint splattered under Monroe's white dress that ran down her leg.
Perhaps what was most disconcerting, wrote film critic Richard Roeper, was the way people acted around the statue.
In a column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roeper decries the bawdy behavior that the upskirt statue seems to inspire in Chicagoans and tourists alike:
Even worse than the sculpture itself is the photo-op behavior it’s inspiring. Men (and women) licking Marilyn’s leg, gawking up her skirt, pointing at her giant panties as they leer and laugh. It’s not that the sculpture is shocking or sexist or obscene — but it’s definitely bringing out the juvenile goofball in many of us.
"Forever Marilyn" is a piece by artist J. Seward Johnson. While his other sculptures are mostly life-size, a few of them as massive as Marilyn.
"The Awakening," a 70-foot sculpture made up of five separate pieces, depicts a giant man struggling to free himself from the earth. It now resides at the National Harbor in Maryland.
Another massive sculpture is "Unconditional Surrender," a 26-foot color statue replica of the famous photo taken at the end of World War II, when a sailor and nurse lock lips.
The bulk of Johnson's work, bronze statues depicting people doing every day activities, are located on benches, sidewalks and parks throughout the United States.