Experts Say Surfing Madonna Should Stay

There’s no way to remove the mystery mosaic without destroying it, firm says

By Lauren Steussy
|  Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011  |  Updated 2:50 PM PDT
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Experts Say Surfing Madonna Should Stay

Surfing Madonna Mosaic Presents Dilemma for City of Encinitas

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The surfing Madonna mosaic in Encinitas is as stubborn as she is famous.

An art conservation firm has found that removing the mosaic without destroying it is impossible. They are now advising the City of Encinitas to not only to keep it, but also to maintain it.

City officials have not yet responded to the recommendation.

At first, consultants thought the 10-by-10 foot mosaic was easily attached under the concrete bridge on Encinitas Blvd. with strong glue, according to the North County Times.

Yet the mosaic appears to have been extensively bolted or screwed into place, said a city-hired team of consultants. They spent several hours inspecting the glass-tile piece, eventually finding the metal reinforcement after sliding a heated saw blade behind the piece.

One truck driver stopped in front of the mosaic and started yelling at the art consultants, reported Barbara Henry of the North County Times.

"Go away," the truck driver shouted. "Leave it alone. What's wrong with it?"

Conservator Andrew Smith responded that although the mosaic is a beautiful piece of art, it was illegally installed.

The city has been struggling with what to do with the mosaic ever since it was secretly installed in April. The mosaic is a violation of Encinitas Municipal Code. City officials hired the Los Angeles-based company for nearly $2,000 dollars to find ways to remove the piece without harming it.

Some community members believe the mosaic is religiously offensive.
 

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