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100 Works of Art to See Before You Die in San Diego

Local art critics, museum directors, and the big kahunas of the art world picked their must-see paintings, sculptures, and buildings with a special checklist just for you


Launch Map

The Curators

Keith York
Founder of Modern San Diego
Carolyn Grant
Director of the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad

Executive Director, San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture

Mark Murphy
Independent artist, designer, and promoter

Artistic Director of ArtPower! program and event venue at UCSD
Alexander Salazar
Gallery owner,
art dealer, and collector
Hansen York

Marketing Manager at Mingei International Museum and former director of external relations at the New Children’s Museum
Reesey Shaw
Director of the
Lux Art Institute
in Encinitas
Dana Springs
Public Art Program Manager for the City of San Diego
Ben Strauss-Malcolm
Director at Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla
Heidi Wilson
Chair of the
Coronado Public Art Subcommittee
Robert L. Pincus
Award-winning art critic and Senior Grants and Art Writer at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego


North County Coastal(1-9)

Magic Carpet Ride
(The Cardiff Kook)

Matthew Antichevich
San Elijo State Beach

Vase 7
Ann Agee
Lux Art Institute Encinitas

Joan Bankemper, 2002
Lux Art Institute Encinitas

Ali Acerol, 2001
Lux Art Institute Encinitas

Ali Acerol, 2001
Lux Art Institute Encinitas

Church of the Nativity
Charles Moore, 1989
6309 El Apajo Road

Chaturangui Artists' Model
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, 2009
Museum of Making Music Carlsbad

Steinway Art Case Grand Piano
Steinway & Sons, 1905
Museum of Making Music Carlsbad

Winetta Childs, 1968
Lomas Santa Fe Dr. & Coast Hwy 101

Hohner Trumpet Call Oriental Beauty Harmonica
Hohner, 1912-1931
Museum of Making Music Carlsbad

North County (10-12)

Queen Califia's Magical Circle
Niki de Saint Phalle, 2003
Kit Carson Park, Escondido

West Lilac Road Bridge
William Wells, 1978
West Lilac Road over Route 15

Lake Hodges Dam
John S. Eastwood, 1918
8250 Del Dios Hwy


La Jolla(13-28)

Surf's Up Mural
Anya Gallaccio, 2011
Fay Street, La Jolla

Vices and Virtues
Bruce Nauman, 1988
Stuart Collection, UCSD

Snake Path
Alexis Smith, 1992
Stuart Collection, UCSD

Two Running Violet V Forms
Robert Irwin, 1983
Stuart Collection, UCSD

Two Running Violet V Forms
Neal Bociek, 2008
Various Locations in La Jolla and Pacific Beach

Brave Men Run in My Family
Ed Ruscha, 1983
Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla

Tim Hawkinson, 1987
Stuart Collection, UCSD

Salk Institute
Louis Kahn, 1963
10010 North Torrey Pines Road

Torrey Pines Gliderport
Unknown, 1946
Torrey Pines Scenic Drive

Liquid Ballistic
Roman de Salvo, 2001
Sculpture Garden MCASD La Jolla

Sam Bell Beach House
Dale Naegle, 1965
Black's Beach

Neurosciences Institute
Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, 2009
10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive

Robert Paine Scripps Forum
Safdie Rabines Architects, 2009
Scripps Seaside Forum

Mount Soledad Cross
Donald Campbell, 1954
Mount Soledad

Pleasure Point
Nancy Rubins, 2006
MCASD La Jolla

Fallen Star
Do Ho Suh, 2011
Stuart Collection, UCSD

San Diego Coastal(29-32)

Nobuho Nagasawa, 2004

Pump Station 4
Teddy Cruz and Marcos Ramirez, 2004
Carleton St. Point Loma

Pixelated Summer
Sarah Lejeune with Angelo Camporaso, 2008
South Belmont Park Comfort Station, Belmont Park

Russell Babcock Residence
Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, 1959

San Diego Central (33-38)

Metro Biosolids Center
Richard Turner, 1998
Adjacent to Miramar Landfill

The Meat Cutter Mural
Unknown, 1998
UFCW Union Local 135 Building

Glass Sculptures and Paintings
Dale Chihuly, Italo Scanga
Saffron Noodles Restaurant

Wild River Grasses, Leaf Cascade & Leaf Canopy
Joyce Cutler Shaw
Mission Valley Library

Trolley Dances
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, every September
Grantville Station to East County Green Line MTS Trolley

Nexus Eucalyptus
Roman DeSalvo, 2006
Cal Trans District 11 Headquarters


Uptown & Balboa Park (39-55)


Niki de Saint Phalle, 2001
Mingei International Museum

Normal Heights Neon Sign
Unknown, early 1900s
Normal Heights

South Park Mural
Shepard Fairey, 2010
Avery Building
Public Architecture

Progress of Man
Belle Baranceanu, 1934
Balboa Park Club

Portrait of a Man
Giorgione, 1510
San Diego Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art
Frank L. Hope & Associates, 1965
Balboa Park

Gates, Facia & Columns
Robert Mosher with Malcolm Leland, 1964
San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado

Farm Landscape
Charles Reiffel, 1937
Casa de Balboa

Point Loma
Charles Reiffel, 1937
Casa de Balboa

Mrs. Thomas Gage (Margaret Kemble)
John Singleton Copley, 1771
Timken Museum of Art

Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber
Juan Sanchez Cotan, 1602
San Diego Museum of Art

Step Chest
Kaidan-Dansu, 1800s
Mingei International Museum

Annie Mae Burroughs (aka Annie Mae Gudger)
Walker Evans, 1941
Museum of Photographic Arts

Abelardo Morell, 1994
Museum of Photographic Arts

Nakashima Table
Mira Nakashima from a design by George Nakashima, 1996
Mingei International Museum

Reclining Figure: Arch Leg
Henry Moore, 1969
Balboa Park Sculpture Garden

Botanical Building
Carleton Winslow, 1915
1549 El Prado



Downtown (56-86)

Everything That Has Ever Existed
Mike Maxwell, 2010
14th Ave. and J St.

Chicano Park Murals
Various Artists, 1973-1997
Chicano Park

Robert Irwin, 1969
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Tara Donovan, 2003
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Guardian of the Waters
Donal Hord, 1939
West Plaza of County Administration Center, Downtown

Wind Oars
George Peters and Melanie Walker, 2004
United Port of San Diego

Seagulls in Flight
Raymond Deitchman, 1978
Sharp Rees Stealy Medical

The Color of this Life is Water
Lynn Shuette, 2001
Convention Center

Coming Together
Niki de Saint Phalle, 2003
Convention Center

Santa Fe Depot
Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe Company, 1915

Paul Hobson, 2000
San Diego Power and Cooling Company

Ilan Laks, 2011
Merril Lynch Building

Alison Rash, 2011
W Hotel

Undoing the Knot
Shirazeh Houshiary, 2007
Bayside By Bosa

Autumn Fall
Matt Devine, 2009
San Diego Harbor

The Conquistador
Ballpark Storage

Cell Phone Tables & Booths
Todd Brownlie, 2011
Bub's at the Ballpark

Tequila Shelves
Tucker Sadler, 2009
El Vitral Restaurant

Frieze on facade
Hamilton Building

MODERN Hotel Sign
7th Ave. and Island Ave.

Tony Gwynn Bronze Sculpture
William Behrends, 2007
Petco Park

Yuma Building
Captain Wilcox, 1886
Downtown San Diego

Newcastle Installation
Tivoli Bar, 2011

Fountain of Two Oceans
Sergio Benvenuti, 1984
Wells Fargo Plaza

Torbati Building

Italian Tiles
Fox Building

The Circle
Chor Boogie, 2011
Horton Plaza Parking Garage (7 Lemon)

Space Invader
Invader, 2010
C Street & 6th Ave

Bow Wave
Malcolm Leland, 1972
Civic Center Plaza

Tree Lines
Gail Roberts, 2000
Terminal Two, San Diego Airport

Bradley-Woolman St. Cecilia Chapel
Theodore C. Kistner 1928
Cortez Hill


East County (87-89)

James Hubbell Home and Studio
Drew and James Hubbell, 1958
Santa Ysabel

Lemon Gardener
Unknown, 1928
corners of Broadway and Main St

Sunrise Highway
Mother Nature
Cleveland National Forest, A long time ago

Jacaranda Trees
Imported by Kate Sessions, early 1900s
San Diego County

Coronado (90-95)

Wizard of Oz glass panels
Brenda Smith, 2006
Coronado Public Library

Imagine Tent City
Todd Stands, 2009
Marina Building

El Dia del Mercado
Alfredo Ramos Martinez, 1930
Coronado Public Library

Concert in the Park Mosaic
Kirstin Green, 2002
Spreckels Park

Sea Passage
James Hubbell, 2005
Promenade on Glorietta Bay


South Bay(96-100)

Pleasant Tree
Jorge Blanco, 1996
Chula Vista Public Library

Father Serra
Julka Djuretic, 2006
Chula Vista

Silver Wing Monument
Lloyd Ruocco, 1964
Montgomery Park

San Ysidro Heritage Mural
Raul Espinoza, 2004
Cesar Chavez Community Center

Discrete Tension
James McLaggen Mitchell, 1988
Chula Vista Social Security Office



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