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Public art isn’t for everyone

February 12, 2007 - 12:06 pm

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.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jaime permalink
    February 16, 2007 - 10:13 am 10:13 am

    I agree: the city’s recent public art along port is boring, cliche and typical San Diego (I can say this as a native, right?).

    Meanwhile, there is motion to remove the ISIS sculpture by local and internationally celebrated artist Mark diSuvero. The sculpture, named after the Egyptian water godess, is an accessable public piece that gives a reverent nod to the fishing and military history of the city and a fantastic welcome to visitors entering San Diego’s airport.

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