New Art to Be Introduced

The newest addition to UCSD’s Stuart Art Collection will be introduced at the entrance of Geisel Library on July 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

John Baldessari’s piece “”Read/Write/Think/Dream”” has transformed the entrance of the library into an artistic expression of students’ quest for knowledge.

The library facade now features eight 10-foot-high glass windows, each with a large photo of a UCSD student standing atop shelved books. The students stand to the right and left of the sliding glass entry doors.

The glass of the sliding doors now features panels of red, yellow and blue. When the doors are open, the door glass overlaps with adjacent glass to create secondary colors of orange, green and purple.

Words above the door tell students to “”Read, Write, Think, Dream.””

Inside the library entrance, there are more glass panels with photos of seated students. To the right is a glass wall etched with images of palm trees. To the left is a mural of pencils and pens standing upright.

The artist, John Baldessari, said his desire was to communicate the importance of students to a university.

“”As I looked at the other pieces in the Stuart Collection, I noticed that none of them dealt with students,”” Baldessari said. “”Having taught all my life, it seemed to me that students should be prioritized. A university shouldn’t be for professors. Professors should be for students.””

Baldessari said the featured students standing atop the library books are a symbolic representation of intellectual success.

“”I wanted there to be a victory over the reading material,”” he explained.

Director of the Stuart Art Project Mary Livingstone Beebe said she was thrilled with the project and the work of Baldessari.

“”We are honored to have a project by John Baldessari and excited about the way the project transforms the space,”” Beebe said. “”It’s an experience to walk through there.””

Lynda Claassen, director of Mandeville Special Collections, further praised the piece.

“”It certainly makes the front of the library a significant art work,”” she said. “”I think it looks terrific.””

Students, on the other hand, have diverging views on the work.

Meghan Rao, a third-year student at Marshall college, expressed her views with equivocation.

“”I believe the work is supposed to represent the different types of students at UCSD,”” Rao said. “”I don’t think the colors really blend with the rest of the facade.””

Conor Medley, a fifth-year student at Revelle college, disliked the piece. “”The library is a place that really doesn’t warrant having art on it. They don’t really look bad but they don’t appeal to me,”” Medley said.

The Stuart Collection was founded in 1981 and is dedicated to funding experimental public sculptures. The project consists of 15 pieces on the UCSD campus.

Baldessari grew up in San Diego and has been a teacher for more than 30 years at many high schools and colleges, including the California Institute of the Arts and UCSD. He is currently a professor of visual arts at UCLA.

He is also presently working on commissioned pieces for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a participatory work for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The July 21 introduction is open to the public and Baldessari will attend the reception. Food and refreshments will be provided.

For more information on the Baldessari work, the Stuart Collection or the collection’s 20th anniversary celebration in November, call (858) 534-2117.

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