Oversized attractions stretch far and wide across the United States, from Denver to New York down to the very corners of the south. This country’s affinity for creating the biggest and the best public art displays does not escape San Diego. The ocean and sun might be big here, but a few statues also vie for attention pie.
Next time you snatch up a flight to San Diego, try not to miss these oversized statues basking in the sun.
National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military
If you are the type who enjoys hamming it up around oversized sculptures, the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military invites visitors to join in on the scene. The bronze likeness to the television and film star continues to entertain an audience of military personnel. You can almost hear his voice from beyond the bronze old time microphone. The work comes from Eugene Daub and Steven Whyte and sits in the waterfront park of the San Diego Port tidelands. The audience of 15 and Hope combined commemorates his dedication to entertaining solider, sailors and airmen.
No stranger to controversy, love it or hate it, Unconditional Surrender is hard to miss. The 25-foot, 6,000 pound statue is the work of world-renowned artist J. Seward Johnson. The sailor kissing the nurse pairing commemorates the famous photograph by Alfred Elsenstaedt that symbolized the end to World War II. Set up in the Mole Park in San Diego, the ginormous statue is on loan at least until May 2012. Plans have been discussed to put up a bronze version to appease the millions of tourists who come to mimic the smooching couple.
Located in a grassy area on the University California San Diego Campus, sun worshippers in San Diego have nothing on this Sun God. The work of Niki de Saint Phalle, known for her oversized figures, presents a 14-foot, color popping bird perched atop a 15 foot concrete arch. The oversized statue was the first outdoor commission in America by the artist. Occasionally, the students decide to dress the Sun God for occasions like graduation.
Magic Carpet Ride or the Cardiff Kook
Just up San Diego’s coastline, you will find surfers and non-surfers arguing over this 16-foot statue of bronze. The work of artist Matthew Antichevich, a local surfer, depicts a novice surfer learning the way of the waves. Near San Elijo State Beach on the Pacific Coast Highway, the area is known for attracting beginner surfers. The novice surfer was nicknamed the Cardiff Kook, surf slang for a wannabe surfer. What draws crowds and controversy perhaps more so than the statue itself are the many gorilla attacks on the surfer. He has been dressed for every season, swallowed up by a papier-mâché shark, and even attacked by dinosaurs (pictured).
"Bob Hope," CC Flickr photo credit: Herb Neufield
"Unconditional Surrender," CC Flickr photo credit: Herb Neufield
"Sun God," CC Flickr photo credit: Ewen Roberts
"Cardiff Kook," CC Fickr photo credit: akasped
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