If you haven’t yet been to the new Westfield University Town Center (aka UTC), put it on your to-do list. Walking around the newly remodeled and gorgeously appointed mall, you can’t help but notice the cutting edge style and luxury feel of the outdoor space. With a bevy of unheard of international stores, high end restaurants and bars, myriad outdoor seating, fire pits, and eye-catching sculptures, it’s a feast for all of the senses.
Forging a multi-year partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), Westfield UTC will unveil nine installations over a period of three years for free public viewing. The first three sculptures include The Twin’s Father by Sandro Chia, Eden by Judith Shea, and Juchiteca de pie by Francisco Zuñiga. The pieces were revealed at a summertime UTC Artwalk event, which celebrated an outdoor sculpture garden located at the Palm Plaza entrance.
The Twin’s Father by Chia leans forward greeting guests outside of the Sundance store with wide eyes and open arms revealing a tiny baby in each hand. Chia, an Italian painter and sculptor has been internationally recognized around the world since the 1980s, and can be found in renowned museums and collections around the world including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome.
Shea’s Eden presents shoppers with a ghostly uninhabited man’s jacket facing a dressed female form, also without body. With a storied career dating back to 1974, Shea has exhibited around the world, including Paris, Italy and stateside at MOMA in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her works throughout the decades are a stunning retrospective on the human form from classical to cutting edge.
Juchiteca de pie by Zuñiga is located outside of the Michael Kors shop and presents a confident, full-figured female with arms overhead, proudly modeling her body for passersby to admire. José Jesús Francisco Zúñiga Chavarría, who passed in 1998, was a Costa-Rican artist who created timeless images in both painting and in sculpture, with works displayed at MOMA in New York, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Juchiteca de pie, which resonates with current cultural identities of body image, social media, and even body shaming, was crafted in 1966.
The shopping center is also popping with other sculptural pieces, like three precariously stacked red pump shoes by Kevin Barry, the wave-like leaf of Pat Downing, and the mesmerizing Octo kinetic wind sculpture by Anthony Howe. Even the concierge's desk is framed by art, captivating new guests with the photo murals of Mark Shimazu. Lit by sunshine during the day, and by firelight, moonlight, and mall illumination at night, the sculptures all take on different and distinct personalities as the day passes.
To capture the eyes of the younger generation, Westfield UTC will be offering MCASD’s signature Family ArtLAB program to the mall quarterly. Led by the Education & Engagement team of MCASD, the series encourages art appreciation for all ages by creating projects where the public can create their own works, with materials provided by the program. Family ArtLAB will be held on the main level, at top of the stairs near Larsen’s Steakhouse, is free and recommended for families with children ages five and older.
4545 La Jolla Village Dr., University City, 858.546.8858, westfield.com/utc