George Sugarman’s untitled abstract statue – better known as “The Exploding Chicken” – is finally getting a new downtown home after three years in storage.
Workers are reassembling the 19-ton, 36-foot-tall steel and aluminum artwork in the Channel District roundabout, just north of The Florida Aquarium.
Work will continue throughout the week at the roundabout along Channelside Drive and Cumberland Avenue, the city said in a news release.
Most of the labor and materials to disassemble, store and move the sculpture as well as to prepare the new site were donated, the city said.
The sculpture will be repainted after installation is complete.
The sculpture had sat for 22 years at Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive, next to the cylindrical officer tower.
The original principal tenant of Rivergate Tower, NCNB National Bank of Florida, commissioned Sugarman’s work in 1988. In 2005, tower was sold to American Capital Partners of Miami, the new owner donated the sculpture to the city’s art collection.
Plans to relocate the artwork to the Channelside roundabout had been in the works since it was dismantled in April 2010.
The piece was given its popular “Exploding Chicken” nickname by longtime Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto.