Getting to interact with art is one of the great pleasures of being human. Right now on Wellesley College’s campus there is a very lifelike piece of art just begging for people to interact with it. It’s a statue of a pasty man, wearing only his underwear, with his arms outstretched.
The statue is called Sleepwalker and it’s part of an art exhibit at the college’s Davis Museum, the Boston Globe explains. It’s been placed in a high-traffic zone right in the center of campus. And it looks like this:
Several students at the all-women’s college are very upset about it. A petition to “remove the uncomfortable and potentially triggering statue put up without student consent” has earned more than 340 signatures. The petition explains:
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 explained on the college’s website that the statue was meant to “inspire narrative,” by encouraging people to interact with it and provoking dialogue. And indeed, while some members of the community were outraged, others seemed to appreciate the unexpected public installation.
“I find it disturbing, but in a good way,” English professor Sarah Wall-Randell told the Boston Globe. “I think it’s meant to be off-putting – it’s a schlumpy guy in underpants in an all-women environment.”