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Marilyn Monroe statue unveiled on Chicago's Magnificent Mile

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Spectators look at "Forever Marilyn," a sculpture by Seward Johnson, on July 15 in Chicago.


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 installation 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 2012.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

The sculpture depicts Marilyn Monroe in her most famous wind-blown pose.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Members of the Hugh and Anya Nguyen wedding party pose under Seward Johnson's 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe on Friday in Chicago.

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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