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Stuart Collection Celebrates 40 Years with a Downtown Exhibition

UCSD Public Art Collection photos to be showcased at new Park & Market space
Philipp Scholz Rittermann
Bear sculpture - Stuart Collection

Bear sculpture – Stuart Collection

Philipp Scholz Rittermann

Back in the 2000s the Stuart Collection circulated a wanted poster for humongous boulders. The Pala Band of Mission Indians ended up delivering a 108-ton centerpiece, which today serves as the torso of LA artist Tim Hawkinson’s Bear.

The debut exhibit at the gallery space inside UC San Diego Park & Market in, The Stuart Collection: Celebrating 40 Years of Public Art at UC San Diego, is an auspicious debut for the new building and burgeoning cultural center in downtown. The exhibition explores the backstory and creation of the remarkable site-specific public art installation with photography by Philipp Scholz Rittermann. The new Blue Line trolley route linking downtown with UCSD’s main campus in La Jolla provides newfound access to the 21 art-world heavyweights in the collection. There’s Robert Irwin, John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman, and Do Ho Suh’s Fallen Star.

Hawkinson’s beloved Bear is a simple idea taken to extremes. At 180 tons and two stories tall, it required sophisticated transportation and incomparable engineering. Its warm tones and organic shapes stand out against the cool, sharp lines of the surrounding architecture; spotted through the tree-lined paths, the sculpture still manages to shock and surprise those encountering it. The symbolism of a cherished teddy bear—coziness, security—makes the piece massively accessible to all.

“Art is about expanding your vision and idea of what is possible,” says Mary Beebe, who recently retired from the position of founding director of the Stuart Collection. Consider this exhibit an ode to her contributions, which have illuminated and enriched San Diego’s cultural legacy for the last 40 years.

Now through summer

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