Kissing Sculpture Bids San Diego Farewell

"Unconditional Surrender" will be moving to New Jersey in February

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sarah Grieco
    The sculpture has stood in San Diego for five years.

    The 25-foot sculpture of a couple embraced in a post-war smooch will be moving at the end of February.

    “Unconditional Surrender,” a tribute to the photo V-J Day in Times Square, has been in San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park since January 2006.

    The statue, located next to the popular tourist destination, U.S.S. Midway, will be disassembled either Feb. 28 or 29 by The Sculpture Group, which owns the traveling piece of art.

    "We have received an enormous number of positive letters, emails and calls about this piece over the years as it has stood at the port next to the Midway,” Paula Stoeke, director of The Sculpture Foundation.

    The sculpture will be going to a park and garden in New Jersey, according to Stoeke.

    “Unconditional Surrender” was created in 2005 by artist Seward Johnson, 80.  Prior to being installed at the Port of San Diego, the sculpture was on exhibit at Snug Harbor, an island adjacent to New York City.

    The Port of San Diego originally contracted to get with this sculpture group for one year and renewed the agreement for five years. But the group has decided to move the large piece across the country.

    Currently, two copies of the sculpture are in Sarasota, Fla. and Rome. Sarasota owns their sculpture, while the one in San Diego is a traveling piece.

    “The traveling edition is made of lighter material,” said Stoeke. “Permanent placements are made of bronze and aluminum.”

    Ron Powell, spokesman for the Port of San Diego, said the sculpture will be removed in pieces.
    Before landing in New Jersey, the sculpture will get a little makeover.

    “It’s been pretty weathered, so it needs to be refurbished” Powell said.

    The Sculpture Foundation is planning to completely restore it once it’s at home base.

    So far, there isn’t anything to replace the statue, Powell said. But a private group is attempting to raise money for a bronze replica of the statue and the Port is monitoring their progress.
     

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