Sculptor Tony Matelli’s show, now at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum, seeks to memorialize the quotidian. His sculptures encompass a wide variety of subjects, from oddly exhilarating, brightly-colored arrangements of rope, to cast bronze windows complete with accidental still-lifes of dead leaves and protruding tufts of insulation. But it’s the hyper-realistic guy in his underwear that’s caused local controversy. About 300 Wellesley students signed a petition asking that the sculpture be removed, as it is “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault.” The sculpture’s shambling pose and baggy underwear didn’t pose much of a threat on a freezing February day; in fact, its main affront may be the memorialization of someone entirely average-looking, surely a crime in perfection-obsessed America.
Photo by Dianne Pappas.
Tony Matelli: New Gravity is on view at the Davis Museum, Wellesley College, through July 20.
The countdown begins! I just hit the “launch” button for my new Kickstarter campaign, which I hope will fund equipment purchases for my new installation work (“Who Lives With Us”). Take a look!
I’ve gotten several comments lately from readers who are just discovering the work of America’s women sculptors. Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein’s wonderfully-written American Women Sculptors is the go-to encyclopedia, and I highly recommend it. The book is roughly divided into historical periods, and within those sections are short biographical sketches and illustrations ranging from Mrs. Wright, the world-famous, 18th-century waxworks queen, to Alice Aycock.
The book is now out of print, and so recounts the lives of sculptors only up until 1990 or so. But Ms. Rubinstein’s scholarship is unmatched, and her research remains definitive. Find it on eBay, or from your local library.