This summer I had the opportunity to create a series of short videos for the Stuart Collection. The project was part of the 50th Anniversary of UCSD. In total I made 17 short videos, one for each public sculpture in the collection. It was a big task because the sculptures are spread across the large 1200 acre University campus. Many of the them I have walked by for years, others I saw for the first time the day I arrived to shoot the video. Spending time with each piece as I shot them, I developed an appreciation for the subtleties, the mise-en-scène, so to speak, of the environment of each sculpture. A sunny day or an overcast day changed everything, and in more than one video I showed up to film just as the marine layer blew in. This is most noticeable in the Kiki Smith video.
The Stuart Collection is challenging. It asks viewers to think a little harder about what art is, and what it does, and for that reason, I adore it. Every time I hear someone say that they don’t like a piece or they don’t get it, I’m gratified somehow. Art is not necessarily easy, it’s not always about liking it, and if “getting it” was required, well, we’d be missing a lot of great art.
The Stuart Collection is brave. I’m proud that UCSD has such a rich collection of contemporary public art. I hope my videos about each sculpture are informative. It will be interesting to see how the meaning of each piece in the collection evolves over the next 50 years. The videos can be viewed online at UCSD-TV or on YouTube, they can also be downloaded for viewing on portable devices. Here is my video about the first sculpture in the Stuart Collection, SunGod, installed in 1983, created by Niki de Saint Phalle.