Secrets of UCSD




 Secrets of UCSD

UCSD, Gilman Drive

La Jolla, CA


UCSD has an impressive collection of art sprawled across the 1,200 acre campus, with pieces dating back as early as 1982. The goal of the of the Stuart Collection is to "to enrich the cultural, intellectual, and scholarly life of the UCSD campus and of the San Diego community by building and maintaining a unique collection of site-specific works by leading artists of our time."  

Artists are welcome to send proposals with the assistance of the Stuart Collection staff. Projects that are chosen are then submitted to the campus for review.  Many of the artists who have designed works for the collection are associated with movements or attitudes which are seldom represented in public sculpture collections. A significant number of the artists have been better known for their work in other areas before creating their first permanent outdoor sculpture for the Stuart Collection.

 The campus architecture ranges from California cottages, World War II barracks, and structures from the 50's and 60's, to more recent buildings influenced by postmodern architecture.  


Personal Experience: I was never a student of UCSD so was not in the "in" of their campus. One day while I was driving in La Jolla though, I happened to pass right by the school and decided why not explore? I had heard from many sources that there are some underground tunnels there. I figured I'd do a little walk around and see if I could find some of the entrances. I also had heard of some talking trees which I definitely wanted to see in person as well as the much-photographed giant bear. 

While walking around the campus in search of these secret gems I began noticing some extremely interesting art installations.  It did not take long for me to realize just how special this campus is and how seriously they take their artwork.  If you are an artist or appreciator of art you need to walk around their campus for the installations alone! These are some of the most interesting and compelling art installations I've seen in San Diego.  I feel a bit foolish not knowing about this earlier or if I did, I must have brushed it off and forgotten about it.  Bottom line: get out there art-lovers, trust me! 

I highly recommend watching each short video on the making of these installations.  It is completely worth it. Please keep in mind that I am showing just SOME of the installations on campus.  There are many more than these!


 Tim Hawkinson

Bear, 2005

For the Stuart Collection, Tim imagined a bear constructed of boulders. Eight granite stones - torso, head, ears, arms, and legs - were found locally. Together they make a bear 23'6" feet high with a total weight of 180 tons.

I was shocked to learn that this bear was fashioned from real boulders.  It is quite a sight to see!

Secrets of UCSD   Secrets of UCSD

Richard Fleischner

La Jolla Project, 1984

The La Jolla Project is more commonly known on campus as "Stonehenge." It is a popular place for students to go to talk or study. Learn more here.

UCSD Secrets

UCSD Secrets

Original Class of '68 autographs:

Secrets of UCSD

Bruce Nauman

Vices & Virtues, 1988

Nauman's Vices and Virtues for the Stuart Collection consists of seven pairs of words superimposed in blinking neon, which run like a frieze around the top of the Charles Lee Powell Structural Systems Laboratory. Seven vices alternate with seven virtues: FAITH/LUST, HOPE/ENVY, CHARITY/SLOTH, PRUDENCE/PRIDE, JUSTICE/AVARICE, TEMPERANCE/GLUTTONY, and FORTITUDE/ANGER.

Secrets of UCSD   

Secrets of UCSD

 Do Ho Shu

Fallen Star

Fallen Star Public HoursTuesdays & Thursdays

11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Secrets of UCSD

Fallen Star

Fallen Star

Alexis Smith
Snake Path, 1992

Smith's work for the Stuart Collection, Snake Path,consists of a winding 560-foot-long, 10-foot-wide footpath in the form of a serpent, whose individual scales are hexagonal pieces of colored slate, and whose head is inlaid in the approach to the Geisel Library. The tail wraps around an existing concrete pathway as a snake would wrap itself around a tree limb. Along the way, the serpent's slightly crowned body circles around a small "garden of Eden" with several fruit trees including a pomegranate. There is a marble bench with a quote from Thomas Gray: "Yet ah why should they know their fate/When sorrow never comes too late/And happiness too swiftly flies/Thought would destroy their Paradise/No more, where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise." The path then passes a monumental granite book carved with a quote from Milton'sParadise Lost. "And wilt thou not be loath to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a Paradise within thee, happier far."


Secrets of UCSD    Secrets of UCSD

Terry Allen

Trees, 1986

Amongst the Eucalyptus grove are a few "special" trees. They blend in with the rest but if you look closely (or if you're lucky, listen closely) you will find the "talking trees".  These trees have 6 hours of recordings but there are moments of silence.

UCSD Secrets   Secrets of UCSD

This is the one obvious tree, which is right in front of the library.  It will help to give you an idea what to look out for with the other two trees:

UCSD Secrets

Nikki de Saint Phalle
Sun God, 1983

"Sun God is a statue by French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle. The statue is a 14-foot multicolored bird-like creature, perched atop a 15-foot-tall horseshoe-shaped rock pedestal.Erected in February 1983 as a part of the Stuart Collection of public art projects, the fiberglass Sun God has become a unique feature on the UCSD campus. It is located on a grassy area between the Faculty Club and Mandeville Auditorium, on the eastern periphery of the John Muir College campus. Since the 1980s the UCSD Associated Students organization has sponsored an annual event, the Sun God Festival, with the statue as its official mascot. Over the years numerous visual-arts students have accessorized the statue with items such as sunglasses, a cap and gown, an ID card, a large, water-spraying phallus, and even a nest with eggs painted in the statue's trademark bright colors." source
Nikki de Saint Phalle is the same artist who created Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden in Escondido.

Secrets of UCSD

John Baldessari 
Read/Write/Think/Dream, 2001

The existing clear glass of the doors was replaced with glass in primary colors, perhaps suggesting primary sources of information. As the doors open and close, the colored panes cross over each other, visually mixing into new colors. 


The library in itself is stunning and a photographer's dream, much like the Salk Institute which is across the street from the campus:
Secrets of UCSD

We spotted Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat over here!

Secrets of UCSD   Secrets of UCSD

The windows on the perimeter of the library are so cool:

IMG_1279 - Copy

Here are a couple other pieces I found while walking around whose information I could not find:

 UCSD Secrets   UCSD Secrets

Secrets of UCSD


Locations Nearby:


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Alpine Historical Society


Anza Borrego Desert

Galleta Meadows

Anza Borrego State Park


Bankers Hill

Balboa Park Archery Range

Balboa Botanical Building


Balboa Dirt Bike Trails


Desert Garden


Bridle Trail


Centro Cultural de Raza


Florida Canyon


Free Tuesdays at the Park

Top of the Park

Japanese Friendship Garden

Marston Canyon & Footbridge


Marston House


Maple Canyon


Mingei International Museum


Museum of Man


Natural History Museum


House of Pacific Relations International Cottages


Old Cactus Garden


Palm Canyon


Reuben H. Fleet Science Center


Spanish Village Art Center


Twilight in the Park


World Beat Center





The Grave of Kathy Fiscus (Lost History)



Campo Stone Store Museum

Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley Cemetery



Batiquitos Lagoon

Carlsbad Flower Fields

Hosp Grove

Leo Carrillo Ranch

LHOOQ/EXREALISM Vintage Bookstore

Museum of Making Music

Self-Realization FellowshipHermitage & Meditation Gardens


City Heights 

City Farmers Nursery 

New Roots Community Farm

San Diego Peace Garden

Wat Sovannkiri Buddhist Temple


Chula Vista

Living Coast Discovery Center

Proctor Valley Rd.

Zorba's Greek Restaurant

U.S. Olympic Training Center

Upper Otay Lake



Coronado Sand Dune's Secret Message

Hotel Del Coronado

Dog Beach



Cuyamaca State Park


Dyar House Ruins 

Green Valley Falls

Stonewall Mine

Del Mar


Four-o-clock Friday's

Exotic Bird Sanctuary



Altitude Sky Bar

Chinese Historical District

East Village Tavern + Bowl 

Grant Hotel

Horton Grand Hotel

The Noble Experiment


Zombie Walk

Shout House


William Heath Davis House


Good Morning

San Diego Botanic Gardens


El Cajon

Kuma Bonsai Nursery

Water Conservation Garden


Summers Past Farms

Crestridge Ecological Reserve


 Altipiano Vineyard & Winery

Cordiano Winery

Daley Ranch

Deer Park Winery & 
Auto Museum

Distinction Gallery

Deer Park Monastary

Dixon Lake

Elfin Forest

Grand Tea Room

Philosophical Library

Felicita Park

Grape Day Park

Harmony Grove Spiritualist Center

Harmony Grove

Kit Carson Park Hiking Trails

Orfila Winery

Lake Wohlford

Lake Wohlford Dam

Plan 9 Alehouse

San Pasqual Cemetery 

San Pasqual Indian Cemetery

Sikes Historic Adobe Farmstead

Street Life

Record Paradise

Questhaven Retreat

Questhaven Rd.

Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden

Phap Vuong Monatsery

Stone Brewery

Stone Farms


Dinwiddie Preserve

Grand Tradition Gardens

Masonic Cemetery

Odd Fellows Cemetery

Palomares House & Park

Santa Margarita River & Ruins


 Golden Hill


Golden Hill Park

Villa Montezuma

Victorian Homes of Golden Hill






Suspension Bridge


Imperial Beach

Mt. Olivet Cemetery

Suzie's Farm

Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Community Garden


Desert View Tower

Boulder Park


Carrizo Gorge Railyard


Coyote's Flying Saucer Retrievals & Repairs


Institute of Perception



Wolf Sanctuary

Downtown Julian

Golden Gem Mine

Julian Pioneer Cemetery

Eagle Mine

Three Sisters Falls

Kearny Mesa

 94 Aero Squadron Restaurant

99 Ranch Market

The Fruit Shop


La Jolla

Munchkin House 

Seal Beach

Secret Swings

La Jolla's Caves, Coves and Tidepools

Mount Soledad

Salk Institute

Scripps Coastal Reserve

Secrets of UCSD

Sunny Jim Cave

Pottery Canyon Natural Park

La Mesa

La Mesa's Secret Stairs

Mount Helix

McKinney House

Wat Lao Boubpharam Temple



Blue Sky Ranch

Linda Vista

Tecelote Park


Little Italy

Downtown Little Italy

Washington St. Skatepark


 Logan Heights

Chicano Park Murals

Technomania Circus

The Chrch

Writerz Blok

Mira Mesa

Camino Ruiz Trail



Aesthetigeist Art Collective

Christmas Light Displays

Community Acupuncture

Haunted San Diego Events

Little Free Library

 Urban Ruins of HIghway 80


Mission Hills

Pioneer Park

Presidio Park

Presidio Park Historic Spots 

Topiary Garden

Mission Valley 
Adobe Falls

Mission Basilica San 
Diego de Alcala


Normal Heights

Folk Arts Rare Records

Herb Shoppe



Ray St.


Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Farmers Market

Sunset Cliffs Caves & Coves

Sunset Cliffs Hiking Trails

Villa Surf Ruins


Villa Surf (Lost History)



Succulent Cafe

San Luis Rey Mission


San Luis Rey Pioneer Cemetery


Old Town

Casa de Estudillo

Cosmopolitan Hotel

Dia de los Muertos

El Campo Cemetary

La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum

Mason Schoolhouse

Old Adobe Chapel

Seeley Stables

Whaley House

Victorian Village Heritage Park

Pacific Beach

Kate O Sessions Park 


Abandoned Homes of Pala


Mission San Antonio de Pala Cemetary

Oceanview Mine & Inn


Palomar Mountain

 Palomar Mountain

Palomar Observatory

The Weir

Point Loma

Cabrillo National Monument

  Fort Rosecrans Cemetery

Old Point Loma Lighthouse


Blue Sky Reserve & Lake Poway 

Meadowbrook Tunnels

Cypress Canyon

Metate Meadows

Lightning Brewery

Old Poway Park

Old Pomerado Rd.

Poway Back-Trails

Meadowbrook BMX Trail

Midland Tunnel

Xpressive Arts Center BYOB Classes


Black Canyon

Devil's Punchbowl

Lake Ramona

Mount Woodson Castle

Oasis Camel Dairy

Sutherland Dam



Rancho Bernardo

  Battle Mountain

Buddha's Peak

Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges Waterfall

Bernardo Winery



Rancho Penasquitos

Black Mountain Glider Port

Cara Knott Memorial Garden 

Eichar's Grave

McKamey Manor

Rancho de Los Penasquitos 

Rancho Penasquitos Waterfall 



Kumeyaay Lake & Campground

Santee Drive-In Theater

Old Mission Dam

Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center


San Marcos

Double Peak Park

Jack's Pond

Scripps Ranch

Ballast Point Brewery

Hendrix Pond

Lake Miramar

Evan's Pond


Seaport Village

B-39 Submarine

Berkely Ferryboat

HMS Surprise Ship

Medea Steam Yacht

USS Dolphin Submarine

Star of India


Serra Mesa

Murphy Canyon


Sorrento Valley

Pet Cemetery

Seabreeze Organic Farm




Torrey Pines

Blacks Beach

Mushroom House

Torrey Pines State Reserve


University Heights

Buchanan Canyon

The Massage Center

Soltan Banoo

Red Fox Piano Bar

Lips Restaurant

Rose Canyon

Valley Center

Bates Nut Farm

Lavender Fields

Metta Forest Monastery

Morning Star Ranch

Old Castle Ranch

Valley Center Historical Museum

Yellow Deli



Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Alta Vista Gardens

Butterfly Farm

Koral's Tropical Fruit Farm & Museum

Exotica Rare Fruit Farm

Indian Store

Yellow Deli

Rancho Guajome Adobe



Warner Springs

Chapel of St. Francis Assisi 

Santa Ysabel Mission

Sky Sailing

Warner Springs Town


Big Sur

Andrew Molera State Park

Ewoldsen Trail

The Henry Miller Library


Limekiln Waterfalls

Los Padres Beach

McWay Falls

Cafe Kevah & Nepenthe Restaurant

Partington Cove

Pfeiffer Beach

River Inn

Salmon Creek Waterfall & Cave

Spirit Garden

Soberanes Creek Watershed

Tanbark Trail



California Market Restaurant

Point Lobos State Reserve

Catalina Island

Trans Catalina Trail System


 Los Angeles

Abandoned Zoo (Griffith Park)

Bronson Caves (Griffith Park)

Hidden Treasures (Topanga)

Murphy's Ranch (Pacific Palisades)

Korean Friendship Bell (San Pedro)

Lake Shrine (Pacific Palisades)

Malibu Hindu Temple (Malibu)

Mosaic Tile House (Venice Beach)

The Getty (Brentwood)

The Last Bookstore (Downtown)

Museum of Death (Hollywood)

Sunken City (San Pedro)

Witch's House (Beverly Hills)


Glass Beach (Fort Bragg)


Highways 1, 101 & 46

Orange County

Mission San Juan Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano)



Abandoned Homes of Salton City

Abandoned All-Boys Military School

Cabazon Dinosaurs (Cabazon)

Eagle Mountain Railroad (Bombay)

East Jesus (Niland)

Salton Sea (Salton City)

Salvation Mountain (Niland)

San Jacinto Mountains & Tram (Palm Spring)

Slab City (Niland)

Tios Tacos


San Luis Obispo

Bubblegum Alley

 Eberle Winery (Paso Robles)

Madonna Inn


Santa Barbara


Santa Monica

Willet & Sespe Hot Springs (Ojai)


San Simeon

Hearst Castle