Thursday, February 06, 2014

Controversy at all-women’s college over statue of sleepwalking man wearing only underpants

A realistic-looking statue of a man sleepwalking in his underpants near the centre of Wellesley College in Boston, Massachusetts has created a stir among the women on campus, with more than 200 students at the all-women’s college signing a petition asking administrators to remove it.

The statue of the sleepwalker, called Sleepwalker, which is part of an art exhibit featuring sculptor Tony Matelli at the college's Davis Museum, has caused outrage among some students since its Feb. 3 installation. Zoe Magid, a Wellesley College junior majoring in political science, has started a petition on asking college president H. Kim Bottomly to have the statue removed. "The statue of the nearly naked man on the Wellesley College campus is an entirely inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community that we, as members of the student body, would like removed immediately.

"While it appears that this statue of a nearly naked, older white man with outstretched arms is an art installation, it does not provide our community with any of the value that art is traditionally intended to add. On contrary, this highly lifelike sculpture has, within just a few hours of its outdoor installation, become a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community. While it may appear humorous, or thought-provoking to some, it has already become a source of undue stress for many Wellesley College students, the majority of whom live, study, and work in this space. "

Davis Museum director Lisa Fischman wrote on Wellesley College's official website that the sculpture was meant to evoke response. "We placed the Sleepwalker on the roadside just beyond the Davis to connect the exhibition - within the museum - to the campus world beyond," Fischman wrote. "I love the idea of art escaping the museum and muddling the line between what we expect to be inside (art) and what we expect to be outside (life). As the best art does, Tony Matelli’s work provokes dialogue, and discourse is at the core of education."

1 comment:

soubriquet said...

Grow up, Wellesley girls...

It's a statue, it doesn't move. You're supposed to be learning to be grown-ups, and, by definition, you're supposed to be smart kids.

I'll guess the petition originators and signers all sleep with a nightlight on, and their favourite cuddly toy grasped tight. Let's hope they never get into any psition of responsibility, over others, because, clearly, they're not ready for the real world.