1. ... an unpleasant, malicious, or lascivious look." "A look" doesn't mean you're looking. If I like your style, I like your look.
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I think the school has a greater responsibility to the safety of the students than to the right of an artist to scare the fuck out of people. Maybe when repeated calls come in to campus security or the police department about a mentally ill man seen wandering on the roadside, they'll do something about it.
And a powerful cultural force it is.
Maybe we should start a fundraiser for them to pay their tuition?
Personally, I would call Andrew Goldsworthy, and see what he can do with the space..
As for how to make it better? I'd love to see a series of photographs of the artist living with this sculpture in their own house. Eating breakfast, with the zombie-dude behind him. Watching tv, while zombie-dude apparently walks by. Gardening, while zombie-dude waters the tomato plants. You'd still get a similar sense of uncanniness, without actually triggering people into panic attacks and flashbacks.
In an odd way, I think if the sculpture lost the briefs, had the hands at a different position, it would be looked upon differently. It looks like a car accident victim in a David Lynch Movie. I think half the problem is the location..
I do think in many ways it would be less threatening without the underwear, and make the sculpture into a nude, which would be better aesthetically, but the location is kind of an odd place, especially with the trees and the ground around the sculpture.
I think there is a real problem when it is wrong to call every woman in her underwear a sexual object, but it's ok to call any random man in his underwear a creepy, threatening predator.
You know, something that says "this place is classy!"
I wouldn't make too much of this. Keep in mind, the student body of Wellesley is 45% over-protected daughters, 45% man-hating lesbians, and 10% girls who were rejected from all the ivy league schools.
What, like stereotypes that all white men in whitey tighties are rapists?
Privileged dudes right to do absolutely anything they want trumps other peoples ' right to not be hurt for existing in society, after asking you to stop. Fuuck. Yoooooou.
Otherwise, fuck it. The students of Wellesley should get something they like for their lawn.
I suspect the man looks like too many Wesleyan ladies' banker fathers back in Connecticut.
It really does not matter what we think. When it costs that bloody much to go to a college, the student body's opinion matters. Hell, I teach at UW, and the students here get pissy if they think I'm misusing their tuition dollars. The people paying tuition, alumni, and donors are going to make this decision, not the school administration.
They ought to have to leave a women's college after the semester has already started? How charitable you are.
Maybe the "get offended and complain" reaction is exactly what is intended...with the hope (apparently failed) to change that reaction to "get offended and ACT".
Art is often interactive, this is version of a blank canvas. The students can paint that canvas as the choose.
Unless, of course, you're predisposed to think of male sexuality as inherently rapey. Which says a lot more about the critics than it does about the sculpture.
@46: Yeah, it'd make me uncomfortable because I'd worry about someone mentally ill freezing to death in the woods. It's not like he's "attacking" their dorms or something.
A $250,000 college education. My god, they're so oppressed!
I can't imagine getting emotionally invested over something this dumb.
a more realistic sculpture of a man in his 40s getting up in the middle of the night, naked, with a piss hard, would turn wellesley student's hair white.
You've got a point - I wasn't even aware of the stereotype that man in underwear = rapist until today. Still, it sounds kind of fishy to me.
@41: The students who live on campus are each paying $57 *thousand* dollars a year
Actually, dad is paying the $57k in most cases. Perhaps that's what this sculpture is about - a dad, wandering around lost, unwelcome and unwanted by the same institution that was happy to "take the shirt off his back".
@41: the student body's opinion matters.
Actually, I do agree. I just think "I don't think that sculpture belongs here" is a more compelling critique than "help, that sculpture is trying to rape me."
That said, the more I think about it, the more clever I think this work is. This particular piece in this particular place evokes all kinds of ideas about how men and women relate to each other. I understand why they want it off their lawn - I'd certainly want it off my lawn - but unlike most public art which strives to be pointless and safe and boring, there is some wit and cheek behind this one.
I also think that if the world were a better place, the student body would have embraced him, and perhaps mischievously contributed a bathrobe, tutu, tiny hat, glowie necklace, 12th man shirt, cigarette, baby stroller, etc. on occasion. He's kind of crying out for some props.
I don't see anything rapey in it. What I see is a mentally ill person about to freeze to death. That gives me pause and makes me want to help. Then I realize it's fake. Then I'm creeped out I was intentionaly fooled.
Is this statue's objective to make me unlearn automatic compassion and empathy towards people freezing to death ? "No, don't stop to help that -- it moves pathetically but you never know, it may be an animatronic !"
And yeah, he needs at least a new makeup. How come students have not thought of creatively defacing it yet is beyond me ; are students that tame nowadays ?
Oh, and "women's college" ? There are colleges that are not mixed-sex in America ? How strange.
And historically women's colleges are mixed-gender these days, but still match a certain educational slant and continue to trend with more female applicants.
Another reason it's a piss-poor idea for a sculpture is due to the immediate reaction upon seeing it is: someone may be in dire need of help. For that reason alone it's inappropriate. So I guess it does provoke, but its provocation is not due to any depth of meaning. More like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. It's not a fitting piece of art for the campus of a prestigious women's University based on its artistic merit, that's for sure. It's probably better suited to somewhere in Fremont, maybe with the other troll piece of art.
We have enough real-life dudes with bats in their belfry hanging around creeping people out, do we not? Do they so richly enhance the experience of life that we need to add one as a permanent fixture?
I can tell you are a bonafide super savvy art critic. Have you ever been to an art museum?
The complaints of the self appointed outrage committee are asinine and it is certainly not fitting for a 'prestigious university' to allow them to compromise the independence of its art museum. If they are afraid of a sculpture the world must be a really really terrible place for them.
It's provocation is due to the fact that it immediately engages the viewer. As for depth of meaning, one could write pages about the various possibilities of engagement and their implications. Can't say the same about this pedestrian piece of pap.
The problem with the sculpture is that it's unpleasant to look at, and that's a fair enough critique. Not a huge problem as it turns out because it's not actually a permanent installation.
It also raises in me the fear of stopping to help someone you think might be in danger, who could themselves turn out to be dangerous. Stay in your car, call 911 is the proper thing to do I suppose, but I imagine there are times when you have to risk getting involved or let someone get hurt or die.
The director of the museum suggested that the statue was merging the worlds of art and life, but in all actuality we are having art forced upon us, without the option to adopt and incorporate him into our community. Yesterday, a snowman was built within his leering embrace. It is gone today, and it's not because the snow melted. That's what I find wrong.
Someone in their forties, who has let themselves go and wears their dress whites to sleep is not someone apt to engage in disciplined waxing. At least it maintains the myth that men should be hairless.
@77- Interesting question. I'd say a look can be leering with closed eyes. "A leer" is a facial expression (no need for eyes) but "to leer" involves a gaze. So leering would usually imply looking, but it could mean that the expression has assumed to form of "a leer."
Here is another angle on this. Closed eyes. No smile. It's the face of an unconscious man. Pretty much anything else you see, you're putting there yourself. Imho, of course.
an unpleasant, malicious, or lascivious look."
"A look" doesn't mean you're looking. If I like your style, I like your look. Do you really think blind people can't leer?
Perception is subjective, but the stature could easily be seen as unpleasant and it's not a reach to say it's lascivious, especially if you pose another figure suggestively in it's arms (as the students did.)
I don't see the sculpture as sexually threatening. I just think it's uncanny-valley creepy and wouldn't want to have it around.
So the school's allowing a male artist to place this representation of a man who has absolutely no control over his actions at the center of campus is just another reminder to a lot of women that there is nowhere you can go to be free of creepy fucking dudes who don't take any responsibility for their behavior, not even an all-women's college. And while of course, that is how it is in the real world, these women don't feel it has to be that way on their campus, and since it is a private school that they pay a ton of money to attend, they should have a say in what art gets to be represented.
The way a blind person would leer would be by making some kind of engagement with the object of their attention, which could actually involve aiming their eyes in that direction. The idea being that there's intent that's directed at someone, real or imaginary. That's something an unconscious person cannot express. Perhaps, to encompass your example, I could broaden it to say, one can't direct one's attention while unconscious, whether or not one is sighted, therefore one can't leer while unconscious.
Lascivious? Are you serious? Is this lascivious? How about this?
I totally missed how badly you jumped tracks here, or I wouldn't have even bothered replying to you.
If you guys don't want it, though, I'll take it. I think it's pretty cool.
And the issue is not that all semi-naked sleepwalking men are rapists, nor that anyone is saying they are. It's not that the sculptor is bad or wrong for having made this. It's that for someone who is sensitized in this area, the sculpture could very well have strong, immediate, frightening and otherwise unpleasant associations, literal (if on first take you mistake it for a live person) or metaphoric (if you end up meditating on the unconscious, uncontrolled, naked lurching).
All these 'well *I* didn't take it that way!' arguments are nothing but self-congratulation for your own good luck in life.
As much as I feel for those who've been traumatized by rape, war, car accidents, loss of loved ones, bad relationships, natural disasters, etc., the world can not simultaneously be free and on a mission to eradicate everything that might stir up someone's bad memories.
I think it's important that, when an artwork has this kind of effect on survivors, they get to say so and ask for a change. Sexual violence is a bit different to many other kinds of trauma in that, thanks to special taboos and stigma, its prevalence is in inverse proportion to its visibility. Although there's been a rebalancing of visibility in the last couple of years, it remains extremely difficult for most survivors to be 'out' or to talk at all about the daily effects of their experience. Society at large is in the habit of being unconscious of those effects, and is surprisingly curmudgeonly about making any accommodation once unconsciousness ends. It's hard to wake up, huh?
Is there a large enough percentage of women assaulted by sleepwalking/"unconscious" males that this combination of factors is seriously a trigger?
Having been mugged by a gang of young black males, can I have the same right to veto any art that reminds me of them?
What is Wellesley? A battered women's shelter? A convent? Or is it an allegedly enlightened institution of higher learning? What kind of education are these women getting there for their $50,000+ a year? It seems like it is pretty light on the humanities given their amazingly ignorant views about art.
And as far as your sarcasm about white man in a noose? I could see replicating American lynchings but replacing the victims with examples of other oppressed groups or with the oppressors as being an interesting piece. You should keep working on that.
Also, I was referring to a white man holding a noose, not in one, just to clarify.