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'Fallen Star' to Land on Jacobs School Campus This Fall

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Fallen Star, a work by Korean artist Do Ho Suh, will be perched on the seventh floor of Jacobs Hall. The piece is part of the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego. 

San Diego, Calif., Sept. 26, 2011 -- 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. It will come to rest on the seventh floor of Jacobs Hall at the Jacobs School of Engineering on Nov. 15.

At 15 by 18 feet, the “Fallen Star” house is a three-quarter-sized version of a small house in Providence, R.I. 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.

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A view of Fallen Star as it will appear from the seventh floor. 
 

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, at ground level, 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. 15.  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.’”

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An aerial view of Fallen Star and Jacobs Hall.

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, MN, the Tate Modern, London, UK, Artsonje Center, Seoul, Korea, and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.

In first journeying from Korea to the U.S., in 1991, to study at RSID, 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 explores the cultural meaning of space and the relationship between the personal and the collective, Beebe explained. 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: http://stuartcollection.ucsd.edu/

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