When it comes to public art, few schools do it as well as the University of California, San Diego. Maybe I'm biased because I went there, but UCSD's Stuart Collection, which dots the entire campus, is seriously top-notch. The latest addition is "Fallen Star" by South Korean artist Do Ho Suh. And yes, it's a house hanging off the edge of a seven-story building. For Suh, who moved to the U.S. to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, followed by graduate studies at Yale, the installation references his feelings of displacement, both domestic and cultural.
"When you see a fallen star, it means that it fell from the sky from a different universe," the artist explained to me last year in an interview. "It's something that's very out of context."
For many of us, college means being away from where we grew up for the first time, an unfamiliar and sometimes overwhelming experience that really challenges the notion of home. Obviously, it's not just where we sleep at night. I think Suh's piece will resonate with students, and with anyone who has ever felt as out of place as this little house that's perched like it was dropped by a passing cargo plane.
"Fallen Star" took a team of engineers and other experts several years to plan and construct. Suh based the look of the fully furnished house on the architecture he saw in New England. It's even beautifully landscaped. Though the up-tilted floor and seemingly precipitous overhang might deter the faint of heart, it's totally safe. There's a welcome mat for the general public on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., when docents provide guided tours. And, of course, you can see the house from all over campus.
(Images: Philipp Scholz Rittermann)