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Sun King May Rise Again

It looks like the Sun King may be returning to Tacoma this spring.

The three-ton, 15 foot tall sculpture once presided over downtown Tacoma from a vantage point in front of the then Sheraton Hotel. To say that not everyone loved it would be an understatement.

Then in 2008 he was removed and placed in storage. We wrote in December that the City was accepting bids for the work to install the Sun King sculpture in a new location near the Thea Foss Waterway, in the crook of the curved 15th Street ramp to Dock Street.

Now the Tacoma Daily Index reports that the bidding process has closed, and one bid comes under the $25,000 figure cited by the City as a reasonable price. We see on the City's small works roster that the construction company with the $224,502.36 bid is listed under status/award. The Index writes that an update will be given next week with details. The original target date for installation was sometime this spring.

If the the bid is accepted, and the Sun King installed at the 15th and Dock Street location, he be sitting at the spot where the Prairie Line Trail connects to the waterfront esplanade - and near where the original rails met the water, as the western terminus of the railroad. 

As a side note, the Daily Index story is worth a read, if you're interested in the history of debate over Tacoma's downtown - if only for descritive sentences like this: "The columnist’s observations weren’t so much informed critiques of public art, but more like the work of a hyperactive, mouth-breathing teenager who had been given a typewriter and free reign over the opinion page of his high school newspaper." Now that's fun writing.

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That isn’t art, it’s rubbish.

Angelina Hawley-Dolan and Ellen Winner paired genuine works of art by famous abstract impressionists with drawings made by children, chimpanzees, and elephants. Sometimes they labeled the paintings correctly and sometimes they switched the labels around or omitted labels altogether. Then they asked study participants which works they preferred and why.


When the paintings carried no labels at all, even art students preferred the famous artists’ paintings only 62 percent of the time, and judged them to be better works of art only 67 percent of the time. “The chimpanzee’s stuff is good, I like how he plays with metaphors about depth of field, but I think I like this guy Rothko a little bit better.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?


February 6, 2014 at 9:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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