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
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…