Public art isn’t for everyone
On Saturday, the Port of San Diego unveiled artist J. Seward Johnson’s “Unconditional Surrender,” a 25-foot sculpture inspired by the famous Life magazine photo of the WWII sailor who got caught stealing a smooch from a pretty nurse (Edith Shain, who was actually part of the opening celebration this weekend).
It’s cute and all, but like the Port’s Urban Trees Program, it’s the kind of public art that’s safe — too safe. It doesn’t challenge people or change the public space it occupies. Now, here’s a good example of interesting public art. Chicago has gone after the public-art thing with a punk-rock attitude that says, “We ain’t afraid to offend.” I dig it. When will San Diego’s public art program step up?
*By the way, the sculpture will be sitting on the lawn of the G Street Mole (located near the Fish Market) for at least a year.