- Photo courtesy of UCSD
Awkwardly at home
It’s going to take a 400-ton crane to lift the roughly 70,000 pounds of steel, wood and other materials in Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star” installation. If everything goes well, the sculpture, which looks like a small, traditional Korean home, will be hoisted to the seventh floor of the Jacobs School of Engineering building at UCSD on Nov. 15, and the public is invited to watch. The installation is scheduled to start sometime after 9 a.m.
“It’s going to be a major deal,” said Mary Beebe, director of UCSD’s Stuart Collection, the scattered trove of site-specific works by well-known contemporary artists.
Beebe first came across Suh’s work in New York. He’d constructed a small house made of silk and mounted it to look like it was floating on air. The piece was meant to communicate the aloofness and awkwardness that comes with moving away from home—he’d recently left his home in Seoul to attend the Rhode Island School of Design.
“He felt totally displaced, you know; he felt like he really had to physically and mentally readjust to his new life and his new home,” Beebe said. “And he had wanted to create this sense of home that he could pack up and bring with him. That seemed like a really appropriate thing for a campus. There are a lot of students here who have upended from home to come here.”
The concept behind Suh’s site-specific “Fallen Star” is similar. The sculpture will look like it was ripped up by a tornado and landed on top of a building. The home will jut out from the seventh floor at a 10-degree angle. And while the floor inside the home will only be at a four-degree tilt, those who walk into the comfortably furnished home will likely experience a few uncomfortable moments.
“It will definitely have an unsettling feeling to it,” said Mathiew Gregoire, the project manager whose job is to overcome the engineering challenges that come with mounting a small home on the side of a building. “I don’t think it’ll feel terribly precarious or throw people off balance, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting and new experience.”
Hits and misses
Intersection, on view at the SDSU Downtown Gallery (725 W. Broadway) through Jan. 2, is the second in a series of faculty exhibitions from San Diego State University’s School of Art, Design, and Art History.
Loosely narrative, the show flutters around the crossroads of our lives during a time of personal turmoil, conflict and reflection. Think John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It’s a hit-and-miss compilation of works by university faculty, but many pieces in the show still manage to override any academic or artistic dogma.
Jeanne Dunn’s paintings, for example, confront viewers with a grove of trees that can be seen as a metaphorical barrier to personal clarity and unforeseeable paths. Or in the case of Craig Carlson, large, black-and-white carbon pigment prints of rural life in Montana portray our feeble attempts to harvest and live in balance with nature.
Kotaro Nakamura’s architectural model of a DMV office in San Ysidro is a cheeky nod to the nomadic theme of the show, but the work is formally, if not artistically, out-of-place with the rest.
Gail Roberts is frustratingly literal and overly romantic in her still-lives of bird nests and literary paperbacks juxtaposed onto large canvases. One of her paintings, for example, depicts a tattered copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. They’re just too clever and gaudy for my taste.
Sondra Sherman’s “Skin Series” is a subdued but elegant collection of jewelry—conceptually smart and excruciatingly introspective—that focuses attention on the wearer’s skin. Gone are the diamonds and gemstones of yesteryear, a simple magnifying glass has taken their place.
Finally, Kim Stringfellow’s documentary photographs and accompanying audio track is an eerie yet compelling look at those who choose to live off the grid. Titled “Jackrabbit Homestead Project,” it follows the history of the Small Tracts Act initiated by the government during the 1940s, in particular, near Morongo Basin in Joshua Tree National Park.
Season 2 of Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist premiered last Wednesday with two San Diego natives in the lineup—Jazz-Minh Moore and Kymia Nawabi. Moore, an abstract and representational painter, and Nawabi, an Iranian-American multi-disciplinary artist, are competing for a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and a $100,000 cash prize. Both made it successfully through Episode 1.
*The original date of the hoist was scheduled for Nov. 3. It has been moved to Nov. 15. Artist Do Ho Suh will be in attendance.