Today’s premiere of “Naked Art: Museums without Walls” concludes the inaugural documentary mini-series for our new YouTube original channel, UCTV Prime. After traveling to three different UC campuses and talking with artists, curators, faculty, students and others who helped make each of the campus’ public art collections a reality, we like to think we’ve shown our growing YouTube audience the range of personalities, sensibilities and landscapes contained within this distinctive research university that spans ten campuses across the state.
The final installment refelects upon the diverse definitions, purposes and modes of public art from UC campuses and elsewhere, and includes comments by artists, curators, students and other participants in the “Naked Art” series. Taken together, the four-part series just might open your eyes to the works of art that cross your path nearly every day.
More importantly, “Naked Art” offers just a taste of what we’ve got in store for you this year on UCTV Prime, starting with “Prime: Vote,” a series about issues in the public debate during this important election year. The series launched last week with three thoughtful commentaries by UC faculty.
Then stay tuned in April for the seven-part miniseries “The Skinny on Obesity.” If you’re a fan of UCTV, then you’ve probably seen or at least heard of UCTV’s popular video lecture “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” featuring UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig on the damage caused by sugary foods. With over 2 million YouTube views to date, the video has become a viral sensation, sparking TV news stories, newspaper articles, even spin-off books by YouTube fans. UCTV Prime decided it’s time to dig deeper into not only the dangers of sugar and its substitutes, but what the latest research is telling us and why it’s changing everything we thought we knew. You won’t want to miss it when it premieres April 13.
And there’s plenty more to come, so if you haven’t subscribed to the UCTV Prime YouTube channel yet, do it today! In the meantime, enjoy these final thoughts on what it means to leave pieces of art out in the wild.
UCSF's Mission Bay "campus" before construction began
The opportunity to build an urban university campus from the ground up is rare, but that’s exactly what UC San Francisco had the chance to do with its Mission Bay campus. The plot of land just south of AT&T Park was barren, but under the leadership of Chancellor J. Michael Bishop (now Emeritus), a spectacular setting for cutting-edge science research has blossomed. The first building, Genentech Hall, opened in 2003, and today the campus is a vibrant and vital research and biotechnology hub.
Chancellor Bishop may be a Nobel Laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 1989), but his interests extend into the arts. That’s why he insisted that 1% of the campus’ construction budget be allocated to public art. The result? A world class collection that, in Chancellor Bishop’s words, “creates an environment that will be a credit and benefit to the entire community, a stimulating and pleasant place to work and visit, and a permanent legacy to the city.”
Even if you can’t make it to campus, you can experience the J. Michael Bishop Art Collection and learn more about its history by watching “Naked Art: Bishop Art Collection, UCSF,” the third installment in our four-part series about public art at the University of California. The program highlights many of the works and includes interviews with Chancellor Bishop, artist Paul Kos and UCSF faculty and staff who helped assemble this diverse collection of sculpture, mosaics, installations, photographs and more.
Make sure to visit the “Naked Art” website to watch previous episodes about UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection and UCLA’s Murphy Sculpture Garden. The fourth program, “Museums without Walls,” premieres March 23 on UCTV Prime. And don’t forget to enter our “Show Us Your Naked Art and Win!” contest, which ends April 3.
It’s time for another stop on UCTV Prime’s tour of UC’s most prestigious public art collections –“Naked Art,” as we like to call it.
This week it’s all about UCLA’s Murphy Sculpture Garden, which spans more than five acres on the Westwood campus and boasts more than 70 sculptures by artists such as Jean Arp, Deborah Butterfield, Alexander Calder, Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Auguste Rodin, and David Smith.
We visited the tranquil setting on a sunny January morning and spoke to the collection’s curator from UCLA’s Hammer Museum, Cindy Burlingham, professor and artist James Welling, and some UCLA students who pick this special location to study, relax – even practice their fire-spinning technique!
If you haven’t already, stop by our “Naked Art” YouTube playlist to watch the first stop on our public art tour at UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection and a catch a trailer for next week’s episode that shows what happens when public art meets science and research on UCSF’s new Mission Bay Campus.
And, of course, subscribe to UCTV Prime’s YouTube channel to keep up with our latest programs, such as “Prime: Vote,” a new series premiering March 13. The first installment features insightful and reasoned commentaries by three UC faculty on important issues the country and candidates are facing during the 2012 election season.
This is especially true with public art, deliberately placed outside the confines of a museum for anyone and everyone to encounter. Sometimes that extra bit of attention leads to transcendence; other times, just plain disbelief. Or maybe there’s a sculpture, statue, mural or drinking fountain you walk by every day without even noticing.
Whether you love it, loathe it– or never even noticed it — grab your camera and document it. Then upload it as a video response to any of UCTV Prime’s Naked Art YouTube videos, or post a photo on the UCTV Prime Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a beautiful art book about the Stuart Collection or UCLA Murphy Sculpture Garden, both featured in the “Naked Art” series. Check out the contest rules and get us your submission by April 3, 2012.
"The Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA"
"Landmarks: Sculpture Commissions for The Stuart Collection at the University of California, San Diego"
Mathieu Gregoire, Project Manager for the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego
There’s nothing quite like the Stuart Collection, an eclectic collection of site-specific art sprinkled about the UC San Diego campus, featuring works from some of the leading artists of our time. A massive teddy bear made of precariously leaning boulders. Talking trees. A house “crashed” atop a seven-story building. It’s not just art — it’s engineering.
We talked to Mathieu Gregoire, the Stuart Collection’s project manager featured in “UCTV Prime: Naked Art,” about the process of turning an artist’s imaginative concept into a tangible work of art.
You’re an artist yourself. What led you to your work with University of California’s public art collections?
I have always liked to think about how things fit together, and about the mechanics behind illusions. Even though the works in the Stuart Collection are all quite real and factual, they are also all in some sense illusions, and they change over time even as they remain the same. After a while, I became interested in the way ideas can be illusory. Many of the projects have been realized because it was possible to fit things together not only mechanically but also conceptually, beginning with the proposals.
You’re involved in the hands on installation for the Stuart Collection. Some of the pieces seem like they’d be particularly challenging. Which work was the most difficult to negotiate and why?
I cannot think of one as most difficult. Each has had difficult moments, because each is an experiment. The problems have usually come from the one-off nature of each piece. Because the big projects have been the most carefully designed they have actually been less difficult in some ways.
Do Ho Suh's Fallen Star, seen from seven stories down
Fallen Star, the latest piece in the collection that involved constructing a house and placing it atop a building at a precarious angle, is probably one of the most audacious works in the Stuart Collection. Was there ever a point where you thought, no way? This won’t work?
That was a possibility, but for some reason I didn’t worry about it. Fallen Star is physically audacious, but other seemingly subtle works have their own audacity.
Fallen Star seems to playfully melds art and engineering. The Bishop Collection at UCSF Mission Bay (premiering March 16 on UCTV Prime), which you also facilitated, does the same with science and art. Do you think the days of traditional public art collections are over?
These two UC collections are quite unique and they don’t “playfully meld” so much as they contradict expectations about public space. I wish things were changing, but the future of “public art” in the real world outside these unique situations is committee-driven and does indeed tend to be inoffensively melded: this is the traditional public art of today, and it is becoming more entrenched.
As an artist, you’ve worked on projects commissioned by public agencies. What is that process of art meets bureaucracy like?
I don’t think the two can meet, but they can exist in spite of each other. Bob Irwin uses the metaphor of the Lindy for this kind of coexistence – a dance that involves gliding past and over and through each other. The norm is for art to be subjected to bureaucracy, resulting in bureaucratic art. It’s possible for the art to dictate its own terms and the bureaucracy can take it or leave it – the way a Richard Serra is commissioned is like this. The third way is where the two glide past each other, which has been possible with the Stuart Collection.
What’s your favorite work in the Stuart Collection? Why?
No way! The best part about it is that they are constantly changing in my memory as well as my present experience. And each one of them was a surprise in its realization. If I had to choose I would pick the Michael Asher and the Nam June Paik, for their pathos, their connectedness and because they seem in some way courageous. David and Goliath.
In your travels off campus, what works of public art have made the strongest impression on you and why?
One from the 20th century is Jean Tinguely’s Cyclop, a giant head in the woods south of Paris. Another, from 1000 years earlier in the 9th century, is the Mausoleum of Ismail the Samanid near Bukhara, in Uzbekistan. There are many in between! In most cases with these works that have made a deep impression on me, the interior space has as strong a presence as the exterior. And they were initiated by one individual yet realized by the work of many – I guess I like that.
Watch UCTV Prime: Naked Art, Stuart Collection at UC San Diego