In 1988, the Scripps Hospital in La Jolla commissioned a $200,000 work of “art” that was supposed to depict a ocean wave. The abstract bronze sculpture by the artist William Tucker, was called Okeanos, after Ὠκεανός (Ōkeanós), the Greek god of rivers and oceans. The employees at Scripps said it looked like a giant “turd,” and the name stuck.
The 3,500 pound, 13-foot tall sculpure was located in front of the Scripps Green Hospital on Torrey Pines Raod, in La Jolla. Michael Brenson of The New York Times wrote, “The sculpture is a rippling curve that seems to spew out of the earth and curl up like a wave. It suggests not only water, but also clouds and vegetation and human.”
Few employees of Scripps Hospital or residents of the neighborhood agreed with this lofty, artful assessment. In 2001, it was moved to the east side of the Scripps Research Institute, on the corner of John Jay Hopkins Drive and General Atomics Court -a less conspicuous location that did not assault the visual senses of employees and visitors arriving at the Scripps Green Hospital each day.