The Forever Marilyn statue made its official return to Palm Springs in June 2021 in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATE ABBOTT
Many Hollywood icons have become Palm Springs royalty — Sinatra, Dean, Dinah, Lucy, Desi — but one literally towers above them all: Marilyn Monroe.
The 26-foot-tall aluminum-and-steel Forever Marilyn statue was created in 2011 by artist Seward Johnson. It depicts the starlet in a signature pose from one of her most popular films, The Seven Year Itch, and bystanders can walk under her legs for an upskirt selfie-op. (The provocative scene reportedly infuriated her second husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, so much so that it hastened the end of their marriage.)
Although it instantly became a must-see tourist attraction, unmissable in front of Palm Springs Art Museum, the monument has caused some consternation. Some protest that the work is exploitive and symbolic of sexism — there is an organized legal effort to remove the statue. Others counter that it’s pro-femme and pro-Palm Springs, because Monroe spent time in the city.
It’s unclear just how long Marilyn and her billowing white dress will remain in the desert, so whatever your view, if you want to get a glimpse, visit now, while you still can. palmspringsforevermarilyn.com
Make a Day of It
You’ll find a free parking lot adjacent to Forever Marilyn. The entrance is on West Tahquitz Canyon Way, one block from the Kimpton Rowan hotel and the downtown plaza known as The Block. From here, you can easily explore the sights, shops, and restaurants of downtown Palm Springs on foot. theblockps.com