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Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 - Canvassed | Art & culture

New San Diego art galleries, the U-T's defense of 'Unconditional Surrender' and more

Quick and pretty San Diego arts news

By Kinsee Morlan
newsandiegogallery Sparks Gallery in progress

Sometimes, my Facebooking pays off. This weekend, I caught wind of two new San Diego art galleries: Eighteen o Five (1805 Columbia St.) and Sparks Gallery (530 Sixth Ave.). Eighteen o Five has already put a call out to artists and Sparks has put out a survey asking people what they want to see in an art gallery.

My Facebook feed this week has also been filling up with responses to the U-T San Diego's editorial defending the merits of the "Unconditional Surrender" sculpture that stands on the grass near the USS Midway Museum and is scheduled to be removed at the end of the month.

The U-T argues that the 25-foot-tall sculpture depicting a sailor kissing a nurse is "hugely popular with real people" and, despite what a certain "art critic" who spent some time at the newspaper said about the piece in the past, the U-T says they'd like to see a bronze version of the piece put on permanent display on the same site, a proposal that was rejected by the Port of San Diego's Public Art Committee last November. The U-T says the proposal was rejected because the committee recently adopted a new policy with higher standards for the public-art program—an attempt to thwart the stream of criticism they've received over the years. Here's a paragraph from the editorial:

This editorial page understands and agrees with the need for high standards for public art in public spaces, and we understand the past criticisms that led the Port District to adopt these higher standards. But sometimes a piece of art is worthy for reasons wholly apart from the bureaucratic criteria of artistic merit. “Unconditional Surrender” is one of those pieces.

In the comments section, most people have sided with the oddly unnamed art critic in the editorial—Robert Pincus, of course, who the U-T let go in 2010. The commenters call "Unconditional Surrender" an "embarrassment," a "piece of derivative schlock" and "pop kitsch" that's been "mobbed by idiot tourists who obviously have no taste in art." 

A few folks took issue with the fact that Pincus was acknowledged in the piece without really being acknowledged.

"Bob Pincus, the unnamed critic mentioned in this editorial, is missed," wrote commenter Linda Moore. "'Unconditional Surrender' correctly labeled an 'attraction' in your penultimate paragraph, will not be missed, at least not as a work of 'art.'"

What do you think? Do you love it? Hate it? Don't care?

Here's a PDF download of the Port of San Diego Public Art Office's first-ever comprehensive curatorial strategy. Download it now and let me know what you think about it, too. 


San Diego beer geeks rejoice: The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego recently announced two new acquisitions: Dough Wheeler's "DW VEN MCASD 11" installation and Jean Lowe's "Beer Stack" piece, which is quite literally a sculpture that looks like stacked cases of brewskies.

The San Diego Museum of Art just acquired an oil painting by Anton Raphael Mengs. It's a portrait of Don Luis de Borbón and you can view it here


On Feb. 16, the local dance company transcenDANCE will be awarded the 2012 Local Peacemaker's Award by the National Conflict Resolution Center. Click here to learn more about transcenDANCE's youth program.

Follow Kinsee on Facebook, Twitter or shoot her an email.