Monday, August 29, 2011

Marilyn gets tagged. Is Picasso next?

At this rate, Marilyn Monroe is going to be one heavily tattoo-ed ‘ho’ by the time her Chicago stint is complete next summer.

By that, I’m being facetious, since Marilyn’s earthly remains remain untouched – to the best of my knowledge.

WHAT I’M REFERRING to is the 26-foot-tall statue of Marilyn recreating her iconic moment (subway breeze blowing her dress above her waist from "The Seven-Year Itch") that stands in Pioneer Court just off Michigan Avenue.

The statue clearly lets us see what color undies Marilyn was wearing and provides the juvenile pig of the male species something to gawk at as we cross the Chicago River.

And now, at least for the time being, we can see the so-called tattoo on her right calf near her ankle. It’s actually nothing more than graffiti, where someone felt compelled to tell us that Pi$tola and Ariel love each other, along with a whole lot of other scrawls that don’t mean a thing to anyone of any sense.

No word yet on how the artist who designed the statue, or the realty group that controls Pioneer Court, will react to this situation. I’d like to think it’s just a matter of someone digging out the flesh-colored (at least flesh-colored if you’re white and blonde) paint and going over the graffiti.

OR ELSE IT becomes the open invitation to everybody to start scrawling over the one-time Norma Jean DiMaggio’s form in every conceivable way. Marilyn the sexpot will become the tattoo-ed lady from the freak show.

Just how long would it be before someone tried to climb the statue in the middle of the night, and try to leave his (or her) mark in the statue’s ample cleavage?

Actually, this is one moment when I wish Joe DiMaggio were still alive. For the one-time New York Yankees star was so jealous of his wife of nine months’ memory that I can’t help but think he’d already be plotting some sort of revenge.

A Louisville Slugger seems to me to be the perfect rebuttal to whomever the nitwit was who decided that graffiti was needed here.

ACTUALLY, IT REMINDS me of an incident about two decades ago when an activist group came up with some posters to put up on Chicago Transit Authority elevated train platforms.

Those posters tried to express tolerance for all, and depicted multiple images of people kissing. Some of those couples were inter-racial, while others were homosexual.

The activists held a big press conference one day to announce their message. The next morning, every single poster had been defiled with black paint. Some put obscene words or phrases on the posters, while others blacked out the couples.

By afternoon, every single poster had been taken down by CTA officials on the grounds that they weren’t going to leave graffiti in place. Because the activist group had a limited budget, there were no replacement posters to put back up.

THE ONE MONTH-LONG statement turned into a single day.

Which means that Marilyn’s tattoos have already lasted longer. They were done sometime late Friday or early Saturday, and reported to police Saturday afternoon.

They remained in place on Sunday while officials tried to figure out what to do.

You can’t very well follow the lead of the CTA and demand that Marilyn’s statue be taken away (although there are those of us who would like it if that silly statue were to disappear before its scheduled termination date in the summer of 2012).

WHICH MEANS WE’RE going to have to bring out the flesh-colored paint.

Now I should make one point clear. I don’t believe that who-ever put their mark of graffiti on Marilyn Monroe was trying to make some sort of ideological statement like the unknown person (or people) who vandalized posters about tolerance two decades ago.

That person, I’m sure, thinks they “won” because their ignorance prevailed – the posters disappeared 29 days earlier than they were supposed to.

As for the person who did this particular bit of graffiti on Marilyn, I doubt there’s any ideological statement being made. They most likely were just bored. Either that, or they had the IQ of a cantaloupe and thought that marking up this statue was necessary.

AS THOUGH A gauche piece of art needed to be made any more tacky!

Yes, I’ll confess. I don’t think much of graffiti, and I have a hard time tolerating those people who think that some sort of statement is being made, particularly since it always winds up being someone else’s property that gets used for the alleged statement.

The day these graffiti taggers decide to mark up their own property, or buy the space on a signboard for their scrawls, is the day I will take them more seriously. Although I suppose we should be surprised that we don’t get more of these scrawls out-and-about.

A part of me is always surprised that the Picasso statue at Daley Plaza doesn’t get hit by such vandals. Although maybe now that Marilyn has been hit, perhaps Pablo’s work is next.


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