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Marilyn Monroe, as a 26-foot-tall statue, attracts a crowd in Pioneer Court on North Michigan Avenue in her famous subway-grate stance from “The Seven Year Itch.” The massive sculpture is by New Jersey-based artist Seward Johnson. Continue reading after the jump.

@capriSUNshine

Her makers had hoped to keep her identity a mystery.

But from the moment those giant gams stepped onto Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL in the heat of the night Monday, that telltale white skirt blown askew, there was little doubt that the 26-foot-tall headless sculpture in Pioneer Court would transpire as anyone other than Marilyn Monroe.

The plastic covering that all week shrouded the sculpture’s head was ceremoniously removed early Friday morning prior to the commuter rush, at last revealing the big picture of what downtown residents and commuters — and tourists — will be looking at for months to come.

Dubbed “Forever Marilyn,” the sculpture by New Jersey-based artist Seward Johnson will live in Pioneer Court through what will be a rather chilly winters for the bare-legged, exposed-panties icon. It’s scheduled to depart in the spring.

Then again, several prior tenants (notably, the “American Gothic” couple, also by Johnson) have overstayed their welcome and were on view for more than a year before moving to their next destination.

Marilyn’s fate is in the hands of Zeller Realty Group, which curates the plaza, and The Sculpture Foundation, which owns the work.

The sculpture’s aim, according to foundation director Paula Stoeke, is to draw eyeballs.

“Through both scale and content this work will attract attention and visitors,” Stoeke said in a statement earlier this week. “The congregation of people is one of the hallmarks of public art and it will be potently evident as Chicagoans discover this newest iconographic sculpture. We also hope that the light-heartedness of the artist’s intention will shine through as Seward Johnson is an artist with a lively sense of humor.”

CT