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Port Says Kissing Statue Can Stay If Money Is Raised

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.

Supporters of a statue at Tuna Harbor depicting a sailor and nurse embracing in a kiss were given one year today by the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners to raise funds for a bronze permanent version.

The 25-foot-tall statue called "Unconditional Surrender" is on loan to San Diego and has to be returned to its owner, the Santa Monica-based nonprofit Sculpture Foundation, by mid-May.

The deadline to return the 6,000-pound sculpture, a rendition of an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in New York City at the end of World War II, was originally last week, but the port and foundation agreed to an extension.

The statue is a popular location for amorous couples to be photographed-with many of them having just come from the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Museum officials agreed to lead a fundraising effort to collect $500,000 to $1 million to pay for a permanent statue. Architect Donald Reeves and his wife, Julia, have also called for having a version of the sculpture that will stay in San Diego.

Midway officials plan to reveal details of their fundraising plans within the next month, according to port spokesman John Gilmore.

The commissioners voted 4-2, with Chairman Scott Peters and Commissioner Bob Nelson dissenting. Commissioner Ann Moore had to leave before the vote was taken, Gilmore said.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 6, 2012 at 7 p.m. ― 5 years ago

I'll donate towards the demolition.

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Avatar for user 'jimiangst'

jimiangst | March 7, 2012 at 8:26 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Seriously? Is this really the best we can do by our Veterans - a cheesy copy of an iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photograph? Everyone has seen the photograph – so why are we feeding people what they already know about a special moment in New York instead of telling visitors about San Diego’s great Military heritage?

The work looks a lot like a plastic statue from a 99 Cent store. If we are going spend a million dollars on a piece of off the self kitsch - why not just buy a giant statue of Elvis covered in sequined uniform? I am willing to bet that would be even more "popular" than this current pastiche - something that is far more appropriate as a midway attraction at the Del Mar Fair than the Midway Museum.

Why are we always settling for the cheap and the shoddy when it come to Public Art in the San Diego? Why not raise the money and solicit proposals to see what our options are? Let the Veterans choose how they wish to be honored from a range of great ideas. After all - they did a really good job of designing the Vietnam Memorial and the National WWII Memorial. By the way - only San Diego is going to settle for less - the other cities that hosted "Unconditional Surrender" did not want it.

This will not be the kind of icon proponents hope it will be - but it will brand us as a community who was unwilling to make a meaningful effort to honor our Vets with a monument unique and specific to their heritage here in San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 7, 2012 at 11:21 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Jimiangst, your post is well written and I agree with your points.

This statue is inappropriate in many respects, and you summarized them fantastically.

( | suggest removal )