26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Unveiled On Mag Mile

The new sculpture was unveiled Friday and will tower over Pioneer Court until Spring 2012

By Lisa Balde and Dominic Trombino
|  Saturday, Jul 16, 2011  |  Updated 3:13 PM CDT
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Artist Seward Johnson's new Pioneer Court sculpture was unveiled Friday morning. Surprise -- it's Marilyn.

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It's true, Chicago. The top half of the "mysterious" 26-foot sculpture on Michigan Avenue was unveiled Friday to be Marilyn Monroe.

There was speculation earlier this week about whether the iconic legs -- complete with flowing skirt blown up by a subway grate -- belonged to the Hollywood starlet. And the realty group that commissioned the Pioneer Court instillation was tight-lipped about her identity.

Friday morning's unveiling of New Jersey based artist Seward Johnson's new sculpture confirmed suspicions. Marilyn will strike her closed-eye, classic pose until Spring of 2012.

Downtown workers and tourists probably remember Johnson for his large, "American Gothic"-inspired sculpture, titled "God Bless America," in the same Pioneer Court location in 2008. The following year, a sculpture depicting Shakespeare's King Lear took the spot.

Why another Johnson piece in the visible space?

"His art starts a conversation," said Melissa Farrell, an executive assistant for Zeller Realty Group. "People love it or hate it, but they're talking about it."

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