I’m feeling so intimidated by HE’s recent sexism debate and particularly the accusatory positions of Melissa Silverstein, Sasha Stone and Glenn Kenny that I was having second thoughts about looking up Marilyn Monroe‘s skirt. I was exiting the Four Seasons hotel, having attended Saturday’s The Giver press conference and done a one-on-one with director Phillip Noyce, when I suddenly decided to snap a couple of shots of the mini-version of Seward Johnson’s Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch sculpture. Which I did quickly enough. Then I realized I’d been looking at photos of the inspiration for this sculpture (i.e., Monroe’s skirt being blown upward by a gust of air through a Manhattan subway grating) since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but I’d never had a chance to “be the grating,” so to speak. No biggie, I told myself. Thousands of Chicagoans have surely done the same thing with the 26-foot-tall version of Johnson’s sculpture. But I still felt it would be somehow “wrong” of me to do this. What would Silverstein think? Or Kenny, a reigning uber-feminist if there ever was one? Then I broke free of that politically correct muck in my head and went behind and stood down and snapped the shot. A Four Seasons parking attendant gave me a look but I stood up like James Cagney and looked him right in the eye, steady and calm and centered, and he quickly looked away.
Outside the Four Seasons hotel — Saturday, 8.3, 2:25 pm. Johnson’s Monroe sculpture is very exacting in every respect.