UCSD’s Next Top Stuart Collection Piece

All Tritons are familiar with the famous Stuart Collection of art pieces placed around campus. They have become an integral part of both our experiences as UC San Diego students and to our university’s online meme page. Now that we have made all the jokes we can about adjusting to the world’s biggest street lamp upon its arrival to campus, it is time to pit these creations against each other in order to reveal which one will become UCSD’s Next Top Stuart Collection Piece. So, we have one question for these unique creations … You wanna be on top? 

Snake Path vs. Warren Bear

Starting from Geisel Library’s “third floor,” Snake Path winds its way down into Earl Warren College, which serves as a nice shortcut to lecture halls for those coming from the northern parts of campus. With its surrounding plant life and wonderful view from the top, Snake Path is also a popular spot for graduation pictures. Though it is dreadful to make the trek from bottom to top, I will give credit to this tortuous path for knowing how to slither, but make it fashion. However, Snake Path is not the only art piece to be found in Warren. It is impossible to forget the famous Warren Bear, with its mysterious boulder build. No one seems to know how this monstrous teddy bear was put together, but for students, it doesn’t seem to matter. Whether the bear is dressed up for Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped glasses or even its own “Bear-y Potter” costume, the Bear is always ready for a good time, which is why, Bear, you are still in the running to become UCSD’s Next Top Stuart Collection Piece. 

Music Tree vs. Vices and Virtues

Night has set once you’re out of your 8 p.m. discussion in Warren Lecture Hall, and you begin your trek across campus to your dorm room. The changing colors of Vices and Virtues turns the ground around you shades of red, yellow, and blue, and you stop for a second to look up. The word Anger flashes at you, slowly followed by Hope. Fitting. You continue your journey past Price Center and up the hill towards Peterson Hall, and a low hum slowly starts to fill the air. While nothing but background music in the day, the music tree’s nighttime sounds are slightly terrifying, and they make you quicken your pace. Vices and Virtues wins this round for always being able to guess your multifaceted moods.  

Two Running Violet V Forms vs. What Hath God Wrought

Ah, What Hath God Wrought, our newest addition to campus. For those not familiar with the name, this piece is the 199-foot tall pole with a flashing light on top. Additionally, the flashing light actually spells out the name of this structure in Morse Code. Upon its arrival, I, in addition to many others, questioned its existence. However, over time I find its presence to be somewhat endearing. There is something fun about being able to see the flash at night from far away. Coming up to face What Hath God Wrought is the infamous Two Running Violet V Forms piece, otherwise known as the “giraffe traps.” This piece has become a crowd favorite, simply due to the urban legend that accompanies these blue fences. Long ago, it is said that the giraffes residing at the San Diego Zoo escaped from their exhibit, running wild around the city. In an effort to catch these rogue giraffes, UCSD stepped in to build these giraffe traps to save the day and have remained on campus ever since. Though I am beginning to grow fond of our giant street lamp, nothing beats the historic Two Running Violet V Forms piece. Congrats, you legendary giraffe traps, you’re still in the running. 

Fallen Star vs. Sun God

Fallen Star, perched precariously on top of the Jacobs School of Engineering building, is always a sight to behold for new students and UCSD visitors alike. Many wonder what the little blue house is for and how it got there, and it certainly gets extra points for being a more interactive piece, since people can actually enter the house. However, Fallen Star is still overshadowed by the huge bird standing on an arch halfway across campus — the infamous Sun God. With its gold crown and colorful appearance, Sun God has become UCSD’s adopted mascot. (Triton, who?) Plus, Sun God is a grade granter — walk backwards through the arch to have good grades set upon you. Sadly, Sun God’s many talents is not something Fallen Star can compete with. 

READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM vs. Another

Who knew that the words above the doors to Geisel Library were a Stuart Collection piece? These words, along with the primary colored sliding doors that turn into different colors when they overlap, make up READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM. While the message and concept is inspiring, the unfortunate location of this piece must be considered, as many students are often too tired to notice what is written on the doors on their daily walks into Geisel. A second surprising contender is Another, the large graphic in Price Center of two clocks with running text that displays the news. Another wins this round for its practicality as well as location. When you want to take a break from studying or eating in Price Center, feel free to take a look at the red text to learn something new. 

Crowning the Winner

Now, I have ten beautiful art pieces before me, but only one can become UCSD’s Next Top Stuart Collection Piece. Vices and Virtues and Fallen Star put up a bit of a fight, but Sun God has, of course, been a fan favorite since the beginning of the season — and the judges’ favorite as well. As odd as it sounds, this giant bird-like statue is vital to our identities as UCSD students — plus, what other Stuart Art piece has a music festival named after it? Whether you love or hate UCSD, you can always find a sense of unity with Sun God, and it’s proven it will continue to be on top for years to come.

One thought on “UCSD’s Next Top Stuart Collection Piece

  1. As a graduate of UCSD in the class of ’85, I always felt the Music/Talking Trees were the most innovative of all the art work at our school. The Snake Path is beautiful, too, as is the Falling Housing, but the Trees will always hold a special place in my heart.

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