Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Resurrection of The Sun King

The Sun King
Welded steel sculpture by Tom Morandi

No, I haven't taken up sculpture, though I wish I could lay claim to this beautiful piece. The credit goes to my longtime friend, the grandly talented Tom Morandi. Tom made The Sun King over an intense seven month period back in 1976, when he was 32 years old. He had won a commission to create the city of Tacoma, Washington's very first piece of public art.

Brenda and I drove up to Tacoma Wednesday for the dedication of the recently refurbished sculpture in its new location, a charming pocket park. It was a lovely day. The Sun King was shining in the sun as an appreciative crowd listened to the artist describe the harrowing tale of its creation and the public's reaction to the piece. After the ceremony we had a chance to catch up over lunch with Tom and other old friends.

There's a lot more to this story. Click this link to learn about the turbulent history of The Sun King:

Artist Tom Morandi, speaking at the dedication.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Tom start teaching at EOC around 1970? I think I remember seeing some of his models (or prototypes) in the art building when I was taking a drawing class from (his name escapes me). I found them fascinating. Great Work.

Rick Hunter

Don Gray said...

Yeah, the early 70's some time, Rick. That Tacoma piece is inspired, I think--very mature work for a 32 year old.

Your drawing class was probably from Ian Gatley.

Sheila Vaughan said...

It's a nice story Don and a magnificent piece. I am sure more people will be ready to take it into their minds and hearts as it is now surrounded by grass and space. The works of two of my most favourite British sculptors, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, gain immensely from being sited in open spaces. Glad you got to see your friend again after all this time. Let's hope the sun shines on the Sun King forever!

Don Gray said...

Hi Sheila--thanks for weighing in. Yes, I think it's great that Tom's piece is getting the respect it richly deserves, however belatedly. Here's to Sun Kings and old friends!