I, too, am discomfited by the sight of a nearly-naked man sleepwalking in a highly trafficked corner of our campus—but this does not disturb me nearly as much as the reactions I have seen and read to this art installation.
Personal discomfort is not a valid reason to remove this statue, nor is it a true criticism of the installation’s artistic value. (For an interesting take on the role of personal preference in art appreciation, see Eleanor Catton’s excellent article on literature and elitism.) The world we live in is not black and white, but multicolored, varied, three-dimensional. Painting this dispute as a case of the white patriarchy asserting its dominance over us is morally reductionist and potentially harmful to the long-term development of this community; doing so slaps an easy-to-reach label on the situation without giving us time to reflect on our reactions to it. Discomfort often tells us more about ourselves than the issue that is causing it, and putting away the things that displease us without a thought is a luxury we cannot afford if we wish to develop a keener understanding of ourselves, our morals and our world.
"It’s literally being about asleep at the wheel.”
One of the things about being a man that I love is how my body is viewed as inherently repulsive and frightening.
I agree with your point, but I think the reaction may have been less severe if the statue was of David Beckham's physique
The sculpture of the nearly naked man on the Wellesley College campus is an inappropriate and potentially harmful addition to our community that we, as members of the student body, would like removed from outdoor space immediately, and placed inside the Davis Museum. There, students may see the installation of their own volition. (emphasis added)
I think it’s great that students are getting engaged to write and think about it. I think if everyone spends time with it and keeps their heads cool, a lot of good will come of it.
Everyone brings to a work of art their own interpretation, their own history and their own baggage. I think people might be seeing things in that work that just aren’t there. I think that those people should think through that and work through it and get to understand the work a little better, and also understand their feelings a little better. I just don’t see that in the work – I think they’re seeing something that’s just not there.
I’ve also done women statues – I’ve done a female Sleepwalker. This just happens to be male. It has nothing to do with this being a women’s college whatsoever. The manner is mundane and irrelevant – there’s no reason it being a man; I mean, it’s half our population. Men are not surprising in our landscape, and it should not be a surprise in any landscape.
« Older Throughout February, comics blogging giant David B... | Simon Parkin writes 1600 words... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt