W is for What is Art?

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Is this Art?

Is this Art?

What is art? Growing up, I wanted to be an artist (among other things). I loved drawing, painting and photography but I never felt I could make it as an artist and traveled down another path.

Merriam-Webster defines art as

a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced

I like to think I have an open mind as to what art is but honestly, I don’t “get” most abstract art. I don’t understand how a canvas painted red with a dab of yellow can be embraced as fine art over other types of art, such as the statue called “Unconditional Surrender” which, up until Thursday, April 26, 2012, sat on Sarasota, Fla.’s waterfront.

The 26-foot-tall statue by artist Seward Johnson depicts a famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of WWII. The famous kissing couple statue first graced the downtown Sarasota waterfront in 2005 as part of the bi-annual Sarasota Season of Sculpture, an outdoor art exhibit.

"Unconditional Surrender" on the Sarasota Waterfront, October 2011

"Unconditional Surrender" on the Sarasota Waterfront, October 2011

Is “Unconditional Surrender” Art?

Like most of Florida, Sarasota is home to many men and women who served during WWII and the statue resonates with them. My grandfather served in the Coast Guard during WWII and my grandmother was thrilled when the statue arrived and we visited it many times when I visited her. Others have enjoyed the statue, too and every time I drive by I almost always see people posing for photographs.

But is it art? Some Sarasota residents have questioned whether the sculpture was art calling it “a giant cartoon” and therefore not qualifying it as such. Some tried to prevent it from being displayed.

Car Hits Foot of "Unconditional Surrender" , Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

Car Hits Foot of "Unconditional Surrender" , Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

Has Sarasota’s Unconditional Surrender Finally Surrendered?

I happened to be in Sarasota on Thursday and was really shocked at what I saw. Did someone who really hated the statue try to take it down? Was “Unconditional Surrender” finally going to surrender?

Turns out it was an accident and the driver is extremely lucky she did not hit any other cars, a tree, or tourists posing for Kodak moments when she hit the sailor’s right foot. Because the statue’s integrity was ask risk, the City of Sarasota took the statue down and it will be shipped off to New Jersey for repair.

Crew Works on "Unconditional Surrender", Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

Crew Works on "Unconditional Surrender" before Taking it Down, Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

Although “Unconditional Surrender” is off for repairs, I have to wonder if it will return to Sarasota. And if it does, will it return to the same downtown location?

"Unconditional Surrender" Rests Following the Car Crash, Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

"Unconditional Surrender" Rests Following the Car Crash, Sarasota, Fla., April 26, 2012

What do you think of “Unconditional Surrender,” is it art?

This post is part of the 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Check back daily for a different letter!

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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