Artist Tony Matelli surprised by ‘Sleepwalker’ sculpture reaction at Wellesley College

boston wellesley college sleepwalker sculpture tony matelli
The “Sleepwalker” by Tony Matelli is seen at Wellesley College.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

The artist who created the controversial “Sleepwalker” sculpture that was recently installed at Wellesley College said he was surprised by the negative reaction.

“Totally surprised,” artist Tony Matelli said in a phone interview on Thursday. “That’s one sculpture of many in the exhibition and, in a lot of ways, it’s my most conservative show. I was expecting yawns actually.”

Matelli’s bronze and painted sculpture of a man wearing only white underwear was installed this week at the women’s college. He said he has no plans to remove it and that it would ultimately be up to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.

A Change.org petition asking for the removal of the sculpture has shifted positions since Wednesday, and is now asking that it be moved inside the Davis Museum. It was previously asking that the “uncomfortable and potentially triggering” sculpture be removed. It has more than 550 signatures.

Matelli said that the petition would not change how he goes about his work.

“That’s the way art works. It’s subjective and I can’t control other people’s subjectivity. I can’t presume what triggers their trauma. I can’t be expected to think about that,” he said.

The sculpture is part of Matelli’s New Gravity exhibit set to open at the Davis Museum. He said placing the “Sleepwalker” outside was part of the exhibit where, from the last room, people inside the museum five floors up can see it outside.

“It amplifies the aspects of that work – desolation and fragility and isolation, you know, because you’re so high up in a warm room and he’s so far way in the snow,” Matelli said. ”I thought it would be quiet and sad more than terrifying and traumatizing.”

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.