First, the backstory. 40 years ago, this place was a pit, literally. An abandoned gravel pit. It was a dumping ground on a landscape that looked out over Mount Rainier and the Kent Valley. Seeing an opportunity to rehabilitate the land artist, Robert Morris was commissioned to restore it to active use while creating an historic piece of art. Inspired by the ancient terraces of Peru, Morris carved concentric circles that descended to the base of the pit. Then he planted the slopes with wild rye grass, preserving the views over the valley. Believing that art has a responsibility to challenge the viewer, Morris left a row of blackened tree stumps reminding all of us of the cost of unchecked environmental practices.
Today, the Robert Morris Earthwork is recognized as the first permanent land reclamation sculpture in the country, possibly the world. It's art and it's a link from our past to our future.
Visit Robert Morris Earthwork in SeaTac.
- Seattle Southside RTA couldn't have developed this program without the support of our community. We would like to thank the following people for their support in the creation of this content:
- Jordan Howland, 4Culture
- Barbara McMichael, SoCo Culture
- Ashley Young, City of Des Moines
The artwork is managed by 4Culture and is part of the King County Public Art Collection.
Credit: Robert Morris (1931-2018). Untitled Earthwork (Johnson Pit #30), 1979. SeaTac, WA. 4Culture/King County Public Art Collection