Giant Marilyn Monroe statue on display in downtown Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH —

Seward Johnson's 26-foot-tall, realistic statue of Marilyn Monroe, called “Forever Marilyn,” had been holding down her billowing white skirt in Palm Springs, Calif., since 2011.

The 36,000-pound statue was dismantled, strapped to a flatbed truck and began a trek across the country to Hamilton, N.J., for an exhibit honoring its designer.

The sculpture stopped in Pittsburgh earlier today in PPG Plaza in its 10th stop before reaching New Jersey.

At its final destination, Johnson, 84, will be surrounded by more than 150 of his works in a retrospective of his life. The exhibit runs from May 4 through Sept. 21 at the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture park and museum.

Because of the Laurel Foundation's role in bringing Johnson's 2012 exhibit to town, Pittsburgh was selected as one of Marilyn's stops along the way.

“Our foundation benefactor, Mrs. Cordelia S. May, traveled the world, but always called Pittsburgh home,” says Elizabeth Tata, Laurel Foundation president. “She especially loved Pittsburgh and was very proud of all it has to offer. As a way to continue her legacy, the foundation continues to look for ways to bring people into the city and to promote its various cultural offerings.”

Stay tuned, say Laurel Foundation planners, who are hinting that something “big” is coming Downtown from May to October as the Foundation “embraces Pittsburgh's look and feel as a city with European flair.”

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.