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Preparing For The Return Of The Kiss Statue

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

In 2012, San Diegans said goodbye to the 25-foot statue of a sailor kissing a nurse that stood for six years on San Diego’s waterfront. It was on loan to the Port of San Diego from the artist Seward Johnson's foundation.

"Unconditional Surrender" returns in 2013 - this time for good. Some people will be thrilled to hear this, while others will undoubtedly cringe. The statue has divided tastes in the city since its arrival.

But love it or hate it, in a little over six weeks, "Unconditional Surrender" will be here to stay. The leadership at the Midway Museum raised $1 million to have it built and permanently installed in the waterfront park between the USS Midway and the Fish Market.

In early January, crews will begin working at the park, readying it for the statue's return.

"Some of the things we’re doing are building a permanent base," said Tanya Castaneda, a spokesperson for the Port of San Diego. "We’re installing lighting that’s mounted on the ground so that it [the statue] will be illuminated at night. It will be really striking at night, and help to add to its iconic status as a fixture on the bay that people visit as a destination."

The new kiss statue will be made out of bronze and painted to look exactly like the old one. Artist Seward Johnson based his sculpture on the historic photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II.

The statue will be part of the Port’s public art collection.

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Avatar for user 'kilo'

kilo | December 26, 2012 at 10:37 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

Crazy that they're putting in back up when Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman being kissed, says that it was not consensual:

Some of her key quotes:

“It wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed!”

“I did not see him approaching, and before I knew it, I was in this vice grip. [sic]“

“You don’t forget this guy grabbing you.”

“That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 27, 2012 at 8:06 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

The "Midway Museum leadership" should be ashamed of themselves.

We have veterans in this country who are homeless, hungry, and some with mental illness that is not being treated.

But what do these imbeciles raise $1 million dollars for?!?!?!

An overgrown cartoonish monstrosity that many people think is ugly and a disgrace to our military.

I'd like to know who is throwing money at this thing when there are so many more important military-related issues that could benefit from this. D. Manchester, perhaps?

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | January 9, 2013 at 1:48 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Seward Johnson has a good racket going . put up the plastic copy for a while in various cities, and then stir things up to get donations to sell the $1m+ version

how many has he sold so far?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 9, 2013 at 3:11 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

I am so glad! I really love that statue, and now it will be forever immortalized in bronze. I see my donation to the bronze statue campaign was money well spent. I will enjoy this statue when I go for a walk on my lunch break.

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Avatar for user 'aisle3'

aisle3 | February 9, 2013 at 6:58 a.m. ― 4 years ago

How can anyone support what is basically a stolen work of art. Everyone knows this "thing" is based on a copyrighted image and its endorsement is tacit approval of theft. On top of that it is a horrible piece of work by a talentless hack and his appropriation of someone else's work is an insult to artists everywhere. No amount of warm and fuzzy thinking can gloss over the intrinsic dishonesty and total lack of artistic merit.San Diego should be ashamed to pretend this junk in any way celebrates military heritage. Pigeons will have the last word on this.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 9, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Not only is it ugly and cartoonish, it's been copied so many times it's not even unique.

What is this one now, a copy of a copy of a copy?

Mmikey is exactly right, this has become a sham.

Those who donated did so for political reasons, not because they like the artwork as they claim.

I want a REAL artist to introduce a response to this, in an art form, that creatively speaks to the struggle of San Dieogo's progressive arts community and the legacy anti-art right wingers with money who only accept art that is literal and symbolizes their political/militaristic ideals.

And thanks again to the military museum and those who donated for making our city look stupid.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 9, 2013 at 9:40 a.m. ― 4 years ago

I will lately donate to any artist out there who wants to drape this thing in a giant condom for World AIDS day or make a similar social statement out of this piece of trash.

Maybe we can creatively find ways to turn it into a symbol against sexual violence since it's been reported the subject matter is based on a woman being forced to kiss a stranger in public.

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