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Conversation Swirls Around Permanent Kiss Statue

Above: Architectural renderings of the permanent bronze version of Unconditional Surrender. A fundraising effort is underway to build and install the statue.

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Above: "Unconditional Surrender," by J. Seward Johnson, is a depiction of a famous 1945 Life magazine photograph taken in Times Square in New York when the end of World War II was announced.

The USS Midway Museum announced they've raised $600,000 for a permanent, bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender," the 25ft statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. The museum and supporters need to raise over $900,000 to build and install the statue in the G Street Mole Park along San Diego's waterfront, where the current on-loan statue resides.

Here's a round up of what people are saying online and in social media about this latest development in the Kiss statue saga:

On the KPBS Facebook page:

Patricia Sinay writes: "Wish we could raise that for our schools."

Heather Collins Dudas responds to Patricia: "@ Patricia, ask the school board what they are doing with all of that lottery money. The money raised for this statue no doubt comes from the pockets of private individuals who want to see a bronze statue. The significance of this piece is extraordinary and so meaningful. If i had the money I would donate to the cause."

Axel Ambrios gets to his point quickly: "What a waste. This statue is HIDEOUS!!!!"

On Twitter (@Culturelust):

Local arts promoter Susan Myrland worries about collateral public art decisions:

"Next up: Kinkade Mural." She's referring to the immensely popular painter Thomas Kinkade who passed away last week. He was not popular with critics, but according to his own website, his paintings hung in every 20 homes in America.

On my Facebook page:

Local painter Dan Adams objected to the statue's combination of materials: "Bronze, but painted. Wow, these here are some real artistes we are talking about, hee haw!"

Here on our website:

Peking_Duck_SD says the choice of a permanent "kiss statue" gives him one more reason to leave San Diego:

"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."

Susan_M chimed in: "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? "

She may be referring to the sudden resignations of members of the Port's public art committee in protest of Port's Board of Commissioners' decision to accept a permanent version of "Unconditional Surrender."

The U-T lists the names of the six major donors who each pledged $100,000 for the permanent Kiss statue. They include Malin Burnham and Doug Manchester, publisher of the U-T. Manchester is quoted in his paper: "As a major donor, we really need to have that great work of art to be retained on our waterfront, which represents one of the happiest memories in the U.S. and perhaps the world."

The statue is based on a famous WW II photograph taken in New York City's Times Square on the day the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

The Midway also launched the public fundraising campaign yesterday. San Diegans can donate in person or via text.

The permanent statue seems inevitable. The Midway Museum is going to match the first $100,000 donated by the public. Midway officials say the statue's already been cast in bronze and is sitting in New Jersey, where it will be painted to look like the current statue that's been here since 2007.

Mac McLaughlin, president and CEO of the Midway Museum said at yesterday's press conference: "The statue will be in bronze to insure that it will be here for hundreds of years to come and withstand the weather."

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 14, 2012 at 12:45 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I didn't think I could hate this disgraceful knock-off cartoon figure any more than I already do, but now a new low: Papa Putrid has slithered his tentacle into the game by donating money.

This is not being erected because the citizens of San Diego came out in droves to give a few bucks here and there, it's being erected because 6 rich political activists are forcing it down everyone's throat.

Hasn't Papa Pin Head forced his agenda on Downtown San Diego long enough?

It's time for citizens to revolt against that creep and boycott his Pravda UT.

As for the erection of the monstrosity, it will simply become a joke to mock like the Cardiff Kook.

April is World sexual awareness month, and my proposal is to start a campaign to drape a giant condom over the statue next year if the ugly thing really moves forward.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 16, 2012 at 9:54 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I donated $1,000 because I love this statue.

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Avatar for user 'Frankie'

Frankie | May 16, 2012 at 2:16 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

We in San Diego really are made to look like fools by the rich idiots from our military-industrial complex who embrace sexist "art" like "Unconditional Surrender." Painting bronzes? Who in the history of fine art ever did this? I await the answer. Also, doesn't the USS Midway endanger its own fund-raising by financing a folly like this?

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