Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
Installation began Monday, February 11 of a bronze recreation of Unconditional Surrender, the controversial statue depicting a sailor kissing a nurse in celebration of the end of World War II, on the San Diego bay front near the U.S.S. Midway museum.
The original foam and urethane statue, loaned to the Port of San Diego in 2007, ended up staying much longer than anticipated. When plans were finalized for the artwork to be transported to its next scheduled stop at a sculpture garden in New Jersey, factions emerged both supportive and critical of the statue.
Detractors called “The Kiss” a gaudy tourist attraction that insulted the sincerity of other works of art along the bay, but fans lamented its removal, staging a “kiss-in” to protest their loss. Eventually the Midway museum staff stepped in, orchestrating a $1 million fundraiser to recreate the traveling work in a more durable bronze, which would be repainted to match the original.
The Port will formally accept the statue as a gift from the Midway at a ceremony this Saturday at 10 a.m., where the U.S. Navy Southwest Band will perform and several couples married during World War II will renew their vows at the base of the 25 foot sculpture.