Controversial Sleepwalker

Sleepwalker, Tony MatelliSculptor 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.


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