We traveling along Bayshore Avenue in Sarasota and came upon “Unconditional Surrender.” It is virtually impossible to miss the 26-foot tall statue of a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of World War II.
Those who follow us know we love the fun and funky. So we had to learn more about this.
This version of “Unconditional Surrender” it is one of a series of such pieces done by J. Seward Johnson II. As Americana – it is a true Florida Fun Travel destination and definitely deserves a stop.
Where it Originated
Our research shows that any people believe it is based on the famous photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt. However, Johnson has said it is more a depiction of a lesser known image taken by Victor Jorgensen.
The original piece, made of styrofoam, first was installed in 2005 at Sarasota as part of the Sarasota Season of Sculpture show – and was only supposed to have been a short term display.
It then went on tour to San Diego and New York City.
Unconditional Surrender Returns
In 2009, the statue, this time an aluminum rendering, returned to Sarasota as part of a biennial exhibit. Although it was supposed to again be a short term offering, an 88-year old veteran by the name of Jack Curran, partnered with a number of other veterans and donated it to the city.
While proponents said it easily might become “the Eiffel Tower of Sarasota.” But it also has been sharply criticized by some in the art world. Some have called it “tacky,” “kitch” or “something that belongs in a theme park.”
Nevertheless, it is largely enjoyed by locals, In fact, we saw a lot of folks trying to recreate the pose for their own photos in front of the massive statue.
In April of 2012, a 62-year-old woman slammed into the base of the sculpture in her Mercedes sedan. While it did not topple it, the impact reportedly broke the sailor’s leg nearly in two. We read news accounts that said the piece had to be taken down and repaired, It then was remounted on the platform on Island Park Drive.
At the end – it was a $125,000 repair bill.
As it stands now, we understand the 15,000 pound aluminum depiction is able to hold up under the winds from a Category 3 hurricane.
Our good fortune was to discover a small parking lot behind the statue. That gave us easy to access to have an up-close look at it.
By the way, for those in the southern portion of the state, there was another copy installed at Mallory Square in Key West. We consider both to be great Florida Fun Travel locales.
If you go, let us know – visit our Florida Fun Travel Facebook page or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.