Sun God: The biggest and most colorful bird ever

Out & About

These past few posts about larger-than-life public art reminded me of the Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

I went digging in my huge collection of cataloged but unprocessed pictures and found the UCSD Sun God.

Looks like this:

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun God was created by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) a French sculptor, painter, and film maker, and was the first work commissioned by the Stuart Collection. It also was her first outdoor work in North America.

Although born in France, she lived in New York from 1933 to 1951 and again in the 1960s. She lived and worked right here in La Jolla from 1992 until her death in 2002.

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

The vibrantly colored “bird” is fourteen feet tall and stands on a concrete arch fifteen feet tall on a grassy area between the Faculty Club and Mandeville Auditorium.

Sun God is a landmark on the UCSD campus and often is the target of various embellishments: giant sunglasses for the summer; a cap and gown for graduation; and earphones and a radio/tape player, turning the statue into a “Sony Walkbird.”

Sun God is the host of the annual Sun God Festival in the Spring, now the largest event sponsored by the UCSD Associated Students. Unfortunately, the Festival has become quite rowdy recently, resulting in many safety-related accidents and injuries. It’s also presumed that drugs and alcohol play a part in the Festival, a presumption that played out sadly when a student died of a drug overdose after attending the 2014 Sun God Festival. It looks like some changes are coming to the Festival for 2015.

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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