US & Canada

Sleepwalker statue at US campus awakens art debate

A statue by Tony Matelli, titled "Sleepwalker", stands in the snow on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on 5 February 2014

A lifelike sculpture of a nearly-nude man walking in snow has drawn a mixed reaction from students at a Massachusetts college.

The artwork, entitled Sleepwalker, depicts a somnambulant in nothing but underwear at Wellesley College.

Nearly 300 people have signed a petition to have the statue removed.

The work, on campus to promote a forthcoming exhibition, is designed to trigger "unexpected new ideas", the college president said.

A statue by Tony Matelli, titled "Sleepwalker", stands in the snow on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on 5 February 2014
The sculpture - by New York-based Tony Matelli - was placed in a busy area of the Wellesley College campus days before the opening of an exhibition of the artist's work there
A statue by Tony Matelli, titled "Sleepwalker", stands in the snow on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on 5 February 2014
Students have reported feelings of apprehension and fear after witnessing the sculpture, and have called for it to be removed.
A statue by Tony Matelli, titled "Sleepwalker", stands in the snow on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on 5 February 2014
The artwork "has started an impassioned conversation about art, gender, sexuality and individual experience", college president H Kim Bottomly said.
A statue by Tony Matelli, titled "Sleepwalker", stands in the snow on the campus of Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on 5 February 2014
The art exhibition at the college's Davis Museum runs from 6 February to 20 July.

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