skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

$600,000 Already Raised For Permanent Kiss Statue


Aired 4/13/12

Officials from the USS Midway Museum have raised over half the funds necessary to build a permanent version of "Unconditional Surrender," aka the "kiss statue," in the same spot along the Embarcadero where the current version stands.

The 25 foot sculpture on the San Diego bayfront called

Above: The 25 foot sculpture on the San Diego bayfront called "Unconditional Surrender." It is based on the famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt featuring a soldier kissing a nurse on V-J Day, Aug. 14, 1945.

Representatives from the USS Midway Museum announced today they've raised $600,000 of the estimated $900,000 necessary to build and install a permanent bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender." The new version will be installed in the G Street Mole Park, in the shadow of the USS Midway, where the current statue stands.

The 25-foot-tall statue of a sailor and nurse embracing in a kiss, is on loan to San Diego and has to be returned to its owner by mid-May. The 6,000-pound sculpture, which is a rendition of an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in New York, has been on loan to the Port since 2007. The statue has divided public opinion in San Diego about standards for public art.

The Midway Museum will now begin a public campaign to raise the additional $300,000. Midway president Mac McLaughlin says the Midway will match the first $100,000 donated by the public. "The bronze version will ensure it's life here for hundreds of years," says McLaughlin.

The $900,000 will pay for landscape architecture, which includes a new walkway up to the statue, and a new mount. According to McLaughlin, the Consul General of Japan would like to plant cherry blossom trees around the statue.

The Port's Board of Commissioners approved the proposal for a permanent version of the statue last month. The vote was controversial, with high profile members of the Port’s public art committee resigning in frustration.

The permanent bronze sculpture will be unveiled in December of 2012.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the afternoon.

On March 23rd, Midway President Mac McLaughlin and architect Donald Reeves were on KPBS-TV's Evening Edition, talking about their campaign to build a permanent kiss statue.


Campaign for Permanent Kiss Statue

Midway President Mac McLaughlin and architect Donald Reeves talk about their plans to build a permanent, bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender."

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'Tostie'

Tostie | April 12, 2012 at 5:03 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps someone could arrange a Kickstarter campaign for $200K?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 12, 2012 at 6:14 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I really think I'm going to explore job opportunities in more progressive cities.

Art is a big deal to me. Probably more than to most people, but it's really important to me.

It's not just this one poor choice, but it's more what this poor choice stands for.


I'm not really diggin living in a backwards whitewashed cowtown.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of cool creative gongs on here as highlighted each week by Beth Acomando, but I really think I'd like to be somewhere that's already there as opposed to struggling to get there amidst a blanket of stifling creatively void ignorance.

If this statue represents San Diego, then San Diego doesn't represent me.

Maybe it's better for this fair city by the sea and for my own creativity to let the statue win and for me to leave.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 12, 2012 at 7:39 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I just saw the press confence announcing the money raised for this on KPBS evening edition.

I rewound, and paused it on my television.

The scant group of about 25-30 people sitting on white chairs applauding this looks like a tea party rally.

Not a single person under 50.

Not a single person who is not white.

And though it's hard to tell, you can see some of the elderly men wearing what appears to be caps with military insignia.

The money and drive behind this is coming from a very small but very powerful segment of our community - right white old folks with ties to the military, and most likely ties to the rich old white conservatives who plutocratically run this region.

That wormy, smarmy museum manager needs to quit falsely claiming "the city" supports this.

It's a small minority of specialized interest groups pushing this hideous trash on us, and they have picked the sniveling boat museum rat to be their suite and tie clad propagandist.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Susan_M'

Susan_M | April 12, 2012 at 11:24 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Peking Duck, your first comment sums up exactly what I was feeling today. I'm usually a booster for San Diego and its art scene, but this news was discouraging. Why does the Port even have a public art commission and a strategic plan if the process can be overruled by anyone who can raise a million bucks?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | April 13, 2012 at 1:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Duck, SD is a better place with people like you in it.

Permanent public art installations shouldn't capture kitschy moments because the visceral effect isn't always the most desired. To a foreign tourist or person unfamiliar with WWII pop culture, the statue will represent amorous displays between disembarking sailors and their loved ones. The original photograph captures the moment just fine. The statue is too big and in the wrong place. It makes the Muffler Man statues look like something by Rodin.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'SDCyclist'

SDCyclist | April 13, 2012 at 3:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree with everyone posting here. I won't repeat what everyone has already said. I will just say I think it's too big, intrusive, not very well-done, totally in the wrong location, and being supported by a very small minority of people for all the wrong reasons. It's not needed. I would never say something wasn't art. It is what it is. Art is subjective. Overall I just don't think it's at all appropriate.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Sam_Figowitz'

Sam_Figowitz | April 13, 2012 at 7:16 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Sam says if they want it why not? Its their money!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 14, 2012 at 11:15 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Sam thinks that if a handful of wealthy, powerful elitist activists in a city of over a million people are willing to dole out money they should have free reign to do whatever they want.

Maybe Papa Pathetic will pay for a solid gold statue of himself for $50 million before he dies, to be erected smack in the middle of balboa park.

People like Sam will say, hey, he's rich so let him have at it since he's got money.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 16, 2012 at 9:55 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

$1,000 of that $600,000 is mine. News flash: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

( | suggest removal )