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  • Inga Kiderra

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  • Inga Kiderra

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‘Fallen Star’ to Land on Campus This Fall

New Stuart Collection piece to sit 100 feet in air

Fallen Star Garden

'Fallen Star' on the seventh-floor roof of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Building 1 (Jacobs Hall)

California is not known for tornados. But this fall, it might look like one tore through the University of California, San Diego and—mysteriously leaving everything else intact —deposited an entire small building on top of another, seven stories up.

“Fallen Star,” by Korean artist Do Ho Suh, is the latest, 18th, addition to the renowned Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, an ongoing program of commissioned, site-specific sculptures that considers the entire campus as a potential site for the artworks, university buildings included.

At 15 by 18 feet, the "Fallen Star" house is a three-quarter-sized version of a small house in Providence, Rhode Island. It will be erected on the seventh-floor roof of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Building 1 (Jacobs Hall). The entire sculpture consists of the house, cantilevered at an angle from the corner of the building, integrated to a structural concrete slab, with a roof garden on the existing building. Access to the artwork will be via Jacobs Hall.


Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, presented the 2011 Public Art Network Award to Mary Beebe, founding director of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego.


The award honors “innovative contributions to, and exemplary commitment and leadership in, public art.” Beebe received her award at the Americans for the Arts Public Art preconference in San Diego on June 15.

“Ms. Beebe exemplifies the power artists and the arts have to transform places,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Her work in San Diego and across the country has advanced the field of public art.”

“The Stuart Collection is adventurous, original, playful yet serious, thought-provoking and timeless,” said Barbara Goldstein, Public Art Network council chair and director of the San Jose Public Art Program. “Not only has Beebe sustained the collection’s high quality throughout its 28-year history, but she has also made it the model for other universities and corporate campuses throughout the United States. It never ceases to astound.”

Beebe has been the director of the Stuart Collection, an ongoing program commissioning outdoor sculpture for the 1,200-acre campus at the University of California, San Diego since its inception in l981. Under her direction, the collection has featured works by such notable artists as John Baldessari, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jackie Ferrara, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Fleischner, Jenny Holzer, Robert Irwin, Barbara Kruger, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Kiki Smith and William Wegman. The collection has received considerable national and international recognition. Locally, it has received two awards from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, one for the collection as a whole in 1989 and another for Alexis Smith's Snake Path in 1992. In addition, it received a National Honors Award from the American Institute of Architects in May 1994.

Prior to moving to San Diego, Beebe was director for nine years of the Portland Center for the Visual Arts in Portland, Oregon, where she oversaw a program of exhibitions, installations, performance art, music, dance and other major forms of artistic expressions. She currently serves on numerous boards and committees, including the board of directors of Art Matters, Inc., New York.

Mary Beebe, director of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, said that she, the artist and the collection’s advisory board are all very excited by this “major undertaking and singular opportunity”: “It should be an unforgettable image and experience for all and will invite people to see the world in a new way.”

“Fallen Star” is currently under construction in Warren Mall, on the ground in front of its final destination. The slab has been poured. Steel framing is going up over the next couple of weeks, said Stuart Collection project manager Mathieu Gregoire. Then it will be time for sheathing the structure with siding, windows and roofing.

The target date for hoisting the building into place is Nov. 3. Soon thereafter, landscaping will begin on the rooftop garden. It is hoped that the artwork, finished to the last detail and with the house furnished, will be ready for guests in January 2012.

“The engineering on this project has been really complex,” said Beebe. “It’s probably the most complex we’ve ever undertaken and it is fitting that it will be in residence at the Jacobs School, not far from another of the Stuart Collection’s engineering feats, Tim Hawkinson’s ‘Bear.’”

Fallen Star Garden

'Fallen Star' garden

Suh was born in Korea and attended Seoul National University before going on to earn a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. Today, he lives and works in New York, London and Seoul. His works are part of museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Tate Modern, London, Artsonje Center, Seoul, Korea, and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

In first journeying from Korea to the U.S. in 1991 to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, Suh recalls feeling as if he was “dropped from the sky.”

“Fallen Star”—like a related ongoing project of Suh’s, “Fallen Star 1/5,” exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among other spaces—explores that feeling of displacement and the notion of “home.”

Suh’s work also, Beebe explained, explores the cultural meaning of space and the relationship between the personal and the collective. This is particularly relevant, she said, in the context of increasing globalization (with frequent dislocation of refugees and others) and considering California’s highly mobile population.

“And,” Beebe added, “‘Fallen Star’ can be seen as a kind of ‘home’ for the students who have left their homes to come to the university.”

Hodges and Hodges are the architects on the project.

“Fallen Star” is supported entirely by private donations to the Stuart Collection and a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major works for the Stuart Collection have been completed by Terry Allen, Michael Asher, John Baldessari, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jackie Ferrara, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Fleischner, Tim Hawkinson, Jenny Holzer, Robert Irwin, Barbara Kruger, Elizabeth Murray, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Alexis Smith, Kiki Smith and William Wegman.

To learn more about the Stuart Collection:

Fallen Star Garden

'Fallen Star' aerial view

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