Pay Attention – New Documentary Features UCSD’s Stuart Collection

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An eternal question: What is “public art?”

The definition of public art continues to evolve, but at its most basic level public art can be defined as “work created by artists for places accessible to and used by the public.” In other words, there’s no velvet rope ‘twixt the art and the patron. It’s worth noting that the art/public art field distinguishes between “public art” and “art in public places.” The former term implies a contextual, often collaborative approach to the creation of art that takes the site and other local factors into account, while the focus of the latter is on the art itself, not where it will be sited. Put another way, “public art” is site-specific, or designed for a particular environment – for instance, a university campus.

“UCSD may not have a football team, but it does have the Stuart Collection.”
– A UC San Diego student

Established in 1982 by retired businessman James Stuart DeSilva, the Stuart Collection of public art at UC San Diego is unique in several respects:

Commissioned Works

Whereas other collections – for example, UCLAs Murphy Sculpture Garden – consist of acquisitions, all works in the Stuart Collection are commissioned; prominent contemporary artists are invited to survey the campus and develop proposals based on their site selection. Proposals are reviewed and approved by an Advisory Board, and most of the works are constructed on-site rather than in a studio.

Self-Funded

The Collection also differs in its funding model. Other collections, such as the J. Michael Bishop Art Collection at UCSF Mission Bay, typically rely on a percentage of construction budgets (1% is common) allocated for public art, but the Stuart Collection is entirely self-funded by grants and donations.

Variety of Forms

An unusual emphasis on variety is another hallmark of the Stuart Collection. Unlike a conventional sculpture garden the works span a variety of forms, materials, genres, etc., and are often “one of a kind” in relation to the artist’s body of work. As the pieces are varied, so too are the artists themselves, ranging from painters (Elizabeth Murray) to installation artists (Nam June Paik) to composers (John Luther Adams). Several of the artists who’ve created pieces for the Collection are not otherwise known for public art (John Baldessari, William Wegman, Terry Allen).

However varied in their form and function, all of the pieces in the Stuart Collection share a common goal. They don’t proselytize or attempt to define “good art” but, in the words of artist Bruce Nauman, they do ask the viewer to “pay attention,” to regard their familiar environment in a different way and, in the process, perhaps see themselves in a new way as well.

Watch Pay Attention: The Stuart Collection at UC San Diego, then browse more programs that explore UCSD’S Stuart Collection.

Jazz is Alive

“Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will.”
– J.J. Johnson

8232Along with baseball and barbecue, jazz is considered one of America’s greatest cultural exports, and one of its most adaptable. Since its inception in New Orleans in the early 20th century jazz has spread around the world, drawing on different regional, national and ethnic cultures for inspiration and spawning a bewildering variety of styles: New Orleans jazz, Kansas City jazz, Gypsy jazz, Dixieland, big band, ragtime, swing, be-bop, free jazz, modal jazz, Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, cool jazz, smooth jazz, jazz-rock, etc., etc. As a result jazz, though ubiquitous, is difficult to define; Louis Armstrong remarked, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

UC San Diego’s Jazz Camp, an annual intensive summer program inaugurated in 2003, reflects the diversity of the jazz idiom in its faculty, student body, and repertoire. Jazz musicians ages 14-adult work in a variety of styles with professional jazz artists, honing their compositional, performance and improvisational skills. The goal of the Camp is to prepare students for life as a musician through immersion in jazz history, theory, techniques and genres.

First and foremost, jazz is about live performance. The five-day workshop culminates in a free Finale Concert featuring student ensembles presenting a program of standards and new compositions under the direction of faculty musicians. Several of the Camp’s alumni have gone on to pursue studies at such prestigious institutions as Yale, Juilliard, and the Berklee College of Music, and the Finale Concert affords the public the rare opportunity to hear future jazz luminaries at the start of their career.

Watch the UC San Diego Jazz Camp: Finale Concert Highlights 2015.

Browse other programs from past seasons of Jazz Camp.

Confessions of a Motion Addict – Stephen Petronio

8232Like a written story that starts one word at a time and builds, Stephen Petronio choreographs a story that begins one step at a time, set in motion until a dance appears.

He understands that to some, modern dance is a beautiful interpretation of thoughts set to music. To others, it is an enigma, requiring explanation to understand. Petronio says you should forget about understanding it. He wants to challenge your intuitive mind and subvert your rational inquiry.

Petronio, an award-winning dancer, choreographer and performer, shares the story of his life journey from a modest Italian family through Hampshire College then to a 25 year career building a unique and powerful language of movement. In conversation with UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter, tune in to Confessions of a Motion Addict, part of the UC Davis Chancellor’s Colloquium Series.

Samson and Delilah: The Production – and Passion – of a Grand Opera

Epic passion, massive sets, bravura arias, large choral numbers and the famous “Bacchanale” dance.

It’s all preparing to unfold this Saturday, February 16 when San Diego Opera’s production of Camille Saint-Saens’ grand opera, “Samson and Delilah,” takes the stage.

How does such a large-scale production come together? Find out tonight (Feb 15) at 9pm during UCSD-TV’s “Opera Spotlight,” which goes behind-the-scenes of the staging process, including rehearsals, interviews with the talent and creative team, and more. (The half-hour program will also be available online by Monday, Feb. 18.)

In the meantime, take a peek at rehearsals with this short production update, or settle in for a conversation with the stars and creative team about the opera’s history, the challenges of designing, staging and performing the work, and the inspirations which Camille Saint-Saens drew upon in composing his dramatic masterpiece on Stars in the Salon. Finally, dive into the story of the Philistine temptress who pits her wiles, and her sex, against the superhuman strength of the mighty Hebrew warrior on OperaTalk!