W is for What is Art?

Is this Art?opens IMAGE file

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.

opens in a new windowMerriam-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 opens in a new windowfirst graced the downtown Sarasota waterfront in 2005 as part of the bi-annual opens in a new windowSarasota Season of Sculpture, an outdoor art exhibit.

"Unconditional Surrender" on the Sarasota Waterfront, October 2011opens IMAGE file

"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 opens in a new windowcalling 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, 2012opens IMAGE file

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 opens in a new window 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, 2012opens IMAGE file

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, 2012opens IMAGE file

"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 opens in a new window2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Check back daily for a different letter!

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Author: Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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