Let me first apologize for the lackluster photo quality and funky lighting. It’s the result of my htc Incredible cameraphone and a spur-of-the-moment decision to check out the meet and greet with artist Do Ho Suh of UCSD’s newest Stuart Art collection piece, Fallen Star, just recently constructed within the past few months.
This project has generated lots of media publicity and excitement, because it visually looks like a giant blue house tilted on top of the Jacobs Hall at the Jacobs School of Engineering in the Warren Mall. The artist is originally from Korea, and meant for this house (modeled off a cottage he remembers in Rhode Island, where he attended RISD), to metaphorically serve as a home for those students who were transported to UCSD and experienced a sort of cultural displacement so to speak.
Today, the 18th piece to the Stuart collection opened its doors to the public with a special meet and greet with Suh. I took the elevators up to the 7th floor of Jacobs Hall, to find a crowd of people standing closely to one another in quite a small space. There were older members of the community, families, and curious students present. A man served as gatekeeper to prevent too many people from trampling over each to see the house at the same time. Once past the red velvet rope, I waited a bit longer to get a first-hand opportunity to actually go inside the charming cottage. Mary Beebe, the director of the Stuart Art collection, stood at the door in a bright orange tunic helping folks up and down the steps.
As my luck would have it, I actually did trip as I walked into this slanted house. Immediately, I was disoriented. The world outside remained at a steady, flat level, but everything in this living room was tilted. The attention to detail was insane. A miniature version of the New York Times sat on the coffee table, personal framed photographs on the side table, and worn-in furniture scattered around the room, which all added a cozy, homey element. Despite the aesthetically pleasing surroundings, my mind was messing with me. I think I had a moment of vertigo, but I was only able to stay in the house for 2 minutes or so. Regardless, it was worth it. As I left, I happened to see the artist outside, taking pictures of the people waiting in line, and I kindly asked him to autograph a poster of his work, and he shared with me his inspiration for the architecture of the house.
If you have an opportunity, I’d recommend checking out Fallen Star. The art piece will be open regularly to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a few hours during midday.