Comments on: Free speech and bad art at Wellesley http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Tenured Radical http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1926438 Mon, 17 Feb 2014 17:44:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1926438 Lenore Skenazy used to work for me at The Yale Daily News. I always wonder where she will turn up next.

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By: Janice http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1924237 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 21:09:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1924237 Nobody would have paid a lick of attention to this exhibit if they hadn’t deliberately provoked outrage and upset by posting a disturbing piece outside where it was guaranteed to provoke reaction.

I’m sorry, but an artist or a curator who resorts to gimmicks to inspire interest is not hitting the mark as far as I’m concerned. Move the banal piece inside and stop pretending it’s anything but a publicity stunt for a ho-hum exhibit!

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By: Katherine http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1924017 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 13:02:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1924017 My mon (a Wellesley grad) and I (not a Wellesley grad) had an argument about this sculpture. We both agreed it was ugly, but disagreed over its purpose and even the definition of art. Mom in the end thinks art should be pretty, since I’m a dutiful daughter (to a point) I decided not to push that and ask if Rembrandt’s painting of Lucretia killing herself was pretty. I think clothing it and organizing a fundraiser for the homeless around it is a great idea.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923695 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:33:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923695 Campus-situated sculpture is a pretty sorry sub-genre. Penn tends to have little knock-down knock-offs of actual sculptures better seen in their real versions. Like the Picasso mini-flamingo study for the actual one in Chicago, an odd choice to put outside a Design school, or worse, the teeny-weenie “Love” model that you can see for real not two miles away. And then there are the ones that they disappear for a decade or more, before installing in front of a new building, like “We Lost,” which has popped up in front of the Nano-Tech center, after languishing in a warehouse for years. That’s a place where they should have done a shrink-down version, wouldn’t you think? On the other hand, who can not like the ones that the little kids like year in and year out, such as “Split Button,” in front of the former library, or even the cutesy “Ben-on-a-Bench” up the walk a ways?

Whew, my first sculpture review. When you’re stalling, you’ll write anything!

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By: koshembos http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923572 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 23:22:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923572 Not seeing the Fruit of the Loom man myself, I’ll just accept others opinions. Objection to art surprises no one. People talking back to art isn’t new. Happily, there are no cut and dry rules about art, so some wild and others rejoice.

As for the kerfuffle, both sides seem to me downright ridiculous.

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By: Comradde PhysioProffe http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923431 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 18:51:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923431 I think it raises really good questions about what art is, and how framing (or refusing framing by sticking it outside without a sign or something identifying and fixing it) works to create art as art.

That gimmick has been done over and over and over before, and with a lot more panache than this.

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By: quixote http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923373 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 17:21:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923373 I love you, Historiann. “[C]an we at least get sculptures of people we actually might not mind seeing in their underpants? Seriously!” was my first thought on seeing that thing. Closely followed by, “I’ll believe it’s art when I see the equivalent woman in a sculpture.”

Art can be revolting because it’s trying to make a point. But just being an eyesore doesn’t make something art.

As for the triggering issues, there’s something there that really offends me. I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly what it is. I mean, if you want to start an examination of why a photorealistic guy in Y-fronts doing nothing is a problem, you need to be triggering men. Not women. They’ve thought about it forever already. This stupid-looking statue does nothing for that.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923332 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:31:28 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923332 Here’s a link to the petition, which I should emphasize does not say that the sculpture should be banished from campus. It merely asks that the statue be put inside the Davis Museum rather than remain outside.

How putting a sculpture indoors is somehow a threat to free speech and free art is a mystery to me. Also: petitions are the essence of free speech and have no power to “silence” anyone.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923327 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:23:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923327 delagar, you’re right to note that “fear” or “terror” are different emotional reactions than “offended,” and the way that Skenazy wants to frame the controversy don’t permit us to appreciate these differences.

I suppose those protesting the sculpture could ask if provoking fear is the purpose of art? What about a sculpture of an assault in-progress: would that be OK to install on a college campus? What about a rape? Are there any limits on provocation?

This is why I think appropriating and domesticating Charlie is a good idea. Wrap him up like the Michelin Man! Make it contest–let different dorms have a week in turn and then vote. That would make Charlie into a public art project, thus fulfilling the art museum director’s putative goals and also make the sculpture less threatening or scary to victims of sexual assault.

Plus: I just think this sculpture was a weird choice for Wellesley, as well as bad art.

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By: delagar http://www.historiann.com/2014/02/13/free-speech-and-bad-art-at-wellesley/comment-page-1/#comment-1923326 Thu, 13 Feb 2014 16:22:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=22404#comment-1923326 To be less rude, I’m pleased she has no triggering issues, but to dismiss the experience of others as if that experience is trivial and unworthy of consideration is a typical tactic of the empowered.

My objection — mainly — is not with her argument. It’s with how she treats opposition as silly. No. What they are experiencing is not silly and it’s not trivial.

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