Sunday, March 3, 2013

Whimsical or Voyeuristic? An Afternoon in Palm Springs...

This past Monday, as my wife and I were driving back to Tucson after a quick trip to Southern California, we decided to get off I-10 and spend a few hours in Palm Springs. We'd driven by it many times but had never stopped. So--a ride up the Swiss-built aerial tram to Mt. San Jacinto, then lunch and downtown-pedestrian-browsing before driving the remaining hours across the desert...

This stopped us in our tracks:
More about Marilyn in a moment...

Not far off the freeway, you drive up into Chino Canyon, where you can take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the snowy and forested Mt. San Jacinto wilderness...

From the lodge at the top, a view over the Desert Cities 
across the San Andreas Fault 
to the low mountains of Joshua Tree National Park...

So, back to downtown,
at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way:
Twenty-six feet tall, seventeen tons of steel, aluminum and paint--"Forever Marilyn" by artist Seward Johnson, inspired by this famous photo from the film "The Seven Year Itch."

Monumental? Kitschy? 

A celebration or an indictment of celebrity-worship? 
Sympathetic or exploitative? 

(And no, we did not pose for our photo under 'her' legs...)

...and I couldn't resist this shot--the triangle of the toddler, reclining guy positioned just so, and the statue's (whimsical? voyeuristic?) backside: the toddler (whose face I've respectfully blurred) seemed to be staring at the guy lying on the lawn, accusing him: "really, dude? You're napping right there, staring at the statue? Kinda creepy..."

Incidentally, the new issue of The Atlantic has an insightful essay on Marilyn Monroe's celebrity-hood... 

(For the rest of the iphone-photos from Palm Springs, click here...)

What's your verdict on this statue?


...and back home in Tucson, after last week's snow, it's already back into the 80's...
--looking over Bear Canyon, on a trail run the other evening: 

No comments:

Post a Comment