UPDATE – the artist has stepped forward to help remove the mosaic without damaging it.
Here it is:
The surfing Madonna appeared just before Easter weekend and has been stirring a soulful debate in this Southern California beach town ever since.
The striking mosaic of the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a wave was affixed to a wall under a train bridge by artists disguised as construction workers in April. It technically is graffiti that should be removed under the law.
But the surfing Madonna’s beauty is drawing a mass following, and even city officials who say she must go acknowledge they too have been taken by her. They have spent thousands to hire an art conservation agency to find the best way to remove her without causing damage.
The 10-by-10-foot rock and glass mosaic poses an interesting dilemma over whether a city should spend lots of money to get rid of artwork that is illegal but well done and actually beautifies a place.
… Support for the wave-riding Virgin has only flourished amid the controversy. She is now on Twitter and Facebook, pleading for help: “I’m the Surfing Madonna. Cherished public mosaic. Hangin’ in Encinitas. Hoping to become famous enough to be saved.” [Art Daily]
An interesting aside: I am told one of Pope Benedict’s favorite titles for Mary is “Star of the Sea.”
Ph/t: The Courtier