Bye Bye, Baby: The Curious Case of Norma Jean and Guigang Dump
Photos have been circulating recently of a 26-foot-tall statue of Marilyn Monroe, but not the oft mocked and vandalized one in Palm Springs, and formerly Chicago.
Laid unceremoniously, face-down, in a Chinese dump in Guigang and residing there since 2013, this gargantuan doppleganger, fixed in the same iconic pose from the 1955 classic, The Seven Year Itch, is a nearly spot-on, yet taller and significantly lighter knock-off of its American cousin, “Forever Marilyn,” created by American artist Seward Johnson.
Paula Stoeke, director of Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, is convinced, “It is definitely not a Seward Johnson sculpture,” and “the Sculpture Foundation was surprised to see the photo and is researching it now.”
Crafted by a group of South China Normal University professors over a period of two years, 8-ton gigantor Marilyn the Second stood for six months in front of a mall in Guigang before mysteriously, and without warning, being relocated to the local dump.
Why? No one knows.
Some speculate is it the ghastly proportions that sent the Chinese Madonna down the river of no return. The heels and feet of the Chinese version are stumpy and garish when compared to the subtler proportions of the Johnson original. Others say fear of litigation and inevitable copyright claims sent the vixen over Niagara in a barrel. There is also the possibility it was deemed inappropriate, as the nearly three-story tall woman’s gaping skirt is wide enough to shelter a crowd of two dozen imaginative perverts.
We may never know why the knock-off Norma Jean languishes in a Chinese landfill, but one thing’s for certain: the Chinese decidedly do not prefer this blonde.