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Mass. college man-in-undies sculpture causes stir



WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) - A remarkably lifelike sculpture of a man sleepwalking in nothing but his underpants has made some Wellesley College students a bit uncomfortable, but the president of the prestigious women's school says that's all part of the intellectual process.

The sculpture entitled "Sleepwalker" of a man in an eyes-closed, zombie-like trance is part of an exhibit by sculptor Tony Matelli at the college's Davis Museum. It was placed at a busy area of campus on Monday, a few days before the official opening of the exhibit, and prompted an online student petition to have it removed.

The sculpture is a "source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault" for many, according to the petition, which had nearly 300 signees on Wednesday.

The petition started by junior Zoe Magid called on President H. Kim Bottomly to have the artwork removed.

That appeared unlikely, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday by Bottomly and museum Director Lisa Fischman.

"The very best works of art have the power to stimulate deeply personal emotions and to provoke unexpected new ideas, and this sculpture is no exception," the statement said. The sculpture "has started an impassioned conversation about art, gender, sexuality and individual experience, both on campus and on social media."

The sculpture was placed outdoors specifically to get a reaction and to connect the indoor exhibition with the world beyond, Fischman said.

"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)," she wrote.

Reaction from the campus community was mixed.

Freshman Bridget Schreiner told The Boston Globe (http://bo.st/1kcwSkC ) she was "freaked out" the first time she saw the sculpture, thinking for a moment that a real, nearly naked man was lingering on campus.

"This could be a trigger for students who have experienced sexual assault," she said.

Others were more understanding.

"I find it disturbing, but in a good way," English professor Sarah Wall-Randell said. "I think it's meant to be off-putting. It's a schlumpy guy in underpants in an all-women environment."

The exhibit opens Thursday and closes July 20.

Realistic Half-Naked Statue Causes Controversy On Campus

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ninokarecki February 07 2014 at 10:11 AM

HELLO PEOPLE , IT'S ART !!!!!!!! THOSE WHO COMPLAINED ARE THE ONES THAT NEVER HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY , SO NOW THEY HAVE AN EXCUSE !!!!!! GROW UP!!!!!! THE SET UP WAS PERFECT !!!!! FEMALE S SCHOOL PUT A MALE , MALES SCHOOL PUT A FEMALE , WELL DONE TONY!!!!!

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anothergent007 February 07 2014 at 9:45 AM

life is so lost on the young lol leave it there

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cathi February 07 2014 at 9:15 AM

What if it were a statue of a woman in her underwear?

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pmaxmaggy February 07 2014 at 6:28 AM

What a bunch of prudes. Grow up.

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Dorie February 07 2014 at 6:23 AM

The school President needs to have her head examined (after she is safely removed from her office and terminated).

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Dick February 07 2014 at 6:02 AM

To waste all that talent would not be good but if that person can't find something better to design, they need to work on cars or something. Terrible.

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Steve February 07 2014 at 1:49 AM

It is at a 'womens school'. 'nuff said.

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nfume1700 February 06 2014 at 10:01 PM

AD MY FIRST IDEA ON SEEING THIS PIECE IS THAT THE DUDE IS SICK...OUTSIDE IN THE SNOW IN HIS DWRAZ...LOL WHATS NEXT..HES HIGH ?GO TO CLASS GIRLS AND FEEL SAFE..ITS ONLY AM PIECE OF ART FOR HEAVENS SAKE LOL

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nfume1700 February 06 2014 at 9:57 PM

DAM PEOPLE ITS ONLY A PIECE OF ART..AND WHATS ART FOR,TO EDUCATE AND EXPERIENEC THINGS IN THE RELA WORL NO SO GET OVER THE BS AND GET TO CLASS U ASSES....THE NWERVE OF SOME OF U .IF IT WERE A NAKED FEMALE,WHAT WOULD U SAY....DAMNED RIGHT..NADA...

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1 reply to nfume1700's comment
stampman24 February 06 2014 at 10:07 PM

Art is 'art', except for those noodle-necks who will read this and decide to reply just to
see their replies on the page, and possibly be noticed, and get more replies. What a
bunch of ninnies!!!!! You all need to grow up, but nowdays, that just seems to be a
great big IMPOSSIBILITY !! Where I am, it is now 7:06 PM, so get your home work done,
get into your PJ's and got to BED! JLP

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1 reply to stampman24's comment
stampman24 February 06 2014 at 10:08 PM

OOPS, sorry - finger slipped....should be "GO TO BED" ! JLP

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threedawgknights February 06 2014 at 9:38 PM

If women can breast feed in public, why can't a guy wear undershorts in public? Should we go put cloths on all the pictures and statues on women with bare breasts? Making a mountain out of a mole hill. We opened up this can of worms with all our rights, equal rights, sexual freedoms, and freedoms to do as everyone wishes. Let's live with it!!

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1 reply to threedawgknights's comment
Oh Great One! February 07 2014 at 10:24 AM

Because breast feeding is not sexual. I'm really restraining myself from calling you something very derogatory, but let's leave it at that.

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