Chula Vista remembers When Heroes Fall.

A memorial to fallen San Diego County law enforcement officers stands across an outdoor plaza at the City of Chula Vista Police Department.

When Heroes Fall…We Remember was created by Chula Vista artist Mark Martensen in 2004. A central bronze sculpture depicts two bowed officers facing a curved wall.

Beneath fluttering flags, the black marble wall is engraved with the names of heroes from different law enforcement agencies throughout the San Diego region who’ve given their lives in the line of duty.

The moving memorial is the work of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

If you know more about the creation and history of this particular memorial, please leave a comment.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Famous head pokes above freeway wall!

Driving north on Interstate 5 near Old Town, have you glimpsed the top of a huge head poking over the freeway wall? Just past the Courtyard by Marriott?

It’s the curly-haired head of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture David!

The Head of David mural was painted on the side of an apartment building back in 1984 by San Diego Mesa College physics student Jeff Sale. The entire mural used to be visible from the freeway, until a wall was built by Caltrans that conceals much of it. You can read an old article concerning the artist and his creation here.

Yesterday I walked through Old Town to see if it’s possible to get photographs of the two story high Head of David from a spot away from the freeway. By standing in the cul-de-sac just north of the Marriott, I took these pics.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A walk in the Edwards Sculpture Garden in La Jolla.

There’s a sculpture garden open to the public in La Jolla that’s very easy to miss.

Large numbers of tourists, walking along the Pacific Ocean, south of Children’s Pool near Cuvier Park, pass this sculpture garden without even realizing it.

This park-like space isn’t readily noticed from Coast Boulevard. Curious eyes might observe an unusual sculpture made of many boats mounted on the building behind it. That building is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego!

Look for the gate in my upcoming photographs. Walk through it and up the curving path. You’re now in the museum’s Sue K. and Charles C. Edwards Sculpture Garden. See what your eyes will see.

My own eyes saw these particular sculptures months ago. Yes, these images have been lingering in my computer for much too long. While I’m self-isolating recovering from mild COVID-19, I’m finally getting around to posting them!

Whether these same pieces are on display right now, I don’t know. Over the years, I’ve noticed that some of the outdoor sculptures in MCASD’s collection are shifted from place to place.

Ready for our walk? Here we go!

Niagara, Alexis Smith, 1985. NOTHING IN THE WORLD COULD KEEP IT FROM GOING OVER THE EDGE… (Marilyn Monroe starred in the film Niagara.)

Monument to a Bear, Erika Rothenberg, 2002-2003. Glass-reinforced concrete over steel, bronze plaque.

Froebel’s Blocks, Richard Fleischner, 1983. Limestone.

Spanish Fan, Robert Irwin, 1995. Steel and glass.

If you’re curious about that mural in the distance, you can see more of it here.

Pleasure Point, Nancy Rubins, 2006. Nautical vessels, stainless steel, and stainless steel wire.

Crossroads, originally sited at the border crossing of US/MEXICO in Tijuana/San Diego, Marcos Ramirez ERRE, 2003. Aluminum, automotive paint, wood, and vinyl.

If you want to see quotes by artists written on the opposite side of these directional signs, click here!

Garden Installation (Displaced Person), Vito Acconci, 1987. Concrete, stones, dirt and grass.

Pasta, Mark di Suvero, 1975. COR-TEN steel.

Long Yellow Hose, Gabriel Orozco, 1996. Plastic watering hoses.

Maria Walks Amid the Thorns, Anselm Kiefer, 2008. Lead books and NATO razor wire.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga at UC San Diego.

Yucateca Sentada is a beautiful bronze sculpture slightly off the beaten path at UC San Diego. It can be discovered by observant students passing down the Ridge Walk through Thurgood Marshall College, by the Administration Building. A walkway leads west to a bench that faces the life-size sculpture. (It isn’t far from Sojourner Truth, another bronze sculpture beside the Ridge Walk.)

Yucateca Sentada (Seated Woman of the Yucatan) was created by renowned Costa Rican-born Mexican artist Francisco Zúñiga in 1976. It was donated to UC San Diego in 1983 by Elsa Dekking and UCSD physics professor Keith Brueckner. That was back when Marshall College was called Third College.

Here’s a photo taken right after its installation, with Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson providing a few words. There’s also an article in the October 3, 1983 issue of The UCSD Guardian concerning the dedication. You can read that here on page 7.

When I first saw this beautiful piece, so radiant with elemental humanity and silent dignity, I thought it might be a work of famed San Diego artist Donal Hord. It’s similar to two works I’ve seen by Hord, Spring Stirring and Aztec.

Then I realized I’d seen another very fine sculpture by Francisco Zúñiga in San Diego. His Mother and Daughter Seated can be found near the front entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.

I photographed Mother and Daughter Seated back in 2016, as it and various other sculptures were being installed in Balboa Park’s outdoor Plaza de Panama. You can enjoy those photos here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Copper printing blocks form storytelling art.

These copper Batik Printing Blocks, combined like words on a page, seem to tell a beautiful story. A complex story about life.

You can find this huge “panel” of Indonesian tjaps at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artwork has been installed on the second floor, near one of the doors that leads to the outdoor terrace overlooking the Plaza de Panama.

The copper blocks were used for wax resist textile printing. Each block, whose intricate design would be repeated on fabric, is combined with about 200 other unique blocks.

The cumulative effect is like a pile of golden Autumn leaves. Or shining memories collected like precious coins, spread on a table before one’s hands. Or a page ready set for a printing press.

It’s the story of a culture, created by many hands.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gray whales breach at Birch Aquarium!

Have you seen those huge gray whales breaching in La Jolla? They emerge from a pool of water near the front entrance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

The impressive whale sculptures stopped me in my tracks during my visit to the aquarium a couple weekends ago. Together they are titled The Legacy. This awe-inspiring public art was created by artist Randy Puckett.

According to his website: “At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains….”

Families and kids approaching Birch Aquarium from the nearby parking lot are absolutely wowed by these monumental sculptures. You understand the immense size of a gray whale when you stand right next to them.

I noticed two identical plaques placed at The Legacy…

In Memoriam Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II

“I have long hoped to do something for the institution. I seem to have the same salt in my veins as did my grandfather.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

UCSD

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Every day, every moment, Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Students at UC San Diego’s Marshall College might encounter her as they proceed down the Ridge Walk. And if they pause to use curious eyes, they can see her humanity and read her words.

The statue of Sojourner Truth debuted on the campus in 2015. It was created by UCSD alumna Manuelita Brown.

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but managed to escape it. She became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who would not be deterred. Feeling guided by God, she testified to the hope that was within her. Read her history here.

Read an article about the sculpture’s dedication ceremony here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Life, death, joy and pessimism in La Jolla.

Art is often a stir of moods and strange contradictions, like life itself.

I saw this complexity during a fun visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. A major exhibit in the recently reopened, beautifully renovated museum concerns the often experimental artwork of world-renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who spent her last years living in La Jolla. The exhibition is titled Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s. It will be on view through July 17, 2022.

As I walked around several spacious gallery spaces, observing the artist’s sensuous sculptures, and fantastic drawings, and paintings created by shooting guns, I saw joyful, fertile, exuberant life displayed side-by-side with bleak, shattered, debris-filled pessimism. It seemed that positivity was associated with female experience, negativity with modernity. As if the two are absolutely separate.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s female sculpture Nanas dance everywhere one turns, bursting with life. Her large Tirs, or performance art “shooting paintings,” looked to my eye like dead junkyards: rigid, punctured, streaked, drained.

As I gazed at the various artworks, whose elements often seem primordial or mythical, I wondered how seemingly opposed ideas could tangle in the mind of an artist–how paint and gunshots could so easily coexist. Oh, wait. Life and death is the prime subject of art.

Go visit this amazing exhibition of rampant creativity and form your own conclusions!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!