Tony Matelli's art provokes dialogue. His most controversial piece "Sleepwalker" has come to the High Line in NYC. In this interview Matelli talks about the piece and the controversy it has created.
Tony Matelli is an American sculptor perhaps best known for his work "Sleepwalker".
Most of the sculptor's notoriety has arisen from his work "Sleepwalker" and the placement of the work therein. First publicly installed outside Wellesley College - an all women's school - the sculpture came under attack both in words and deed.
Some students reaction to the work which was first created for display at the institute of higher learning in time with his solo exhibition at Wellesley's Davis Museum, titled "New Gravity" was similar to that of some people's to Anthony Gormley's figure placed near a ledge on the Empire State Building being called in to emergency services as a jumper; they thought it was a stumbling invasive drunk or otherwise a perpetrator.
A petition was then started to demand removal of the work and, as reported by the New York Times, garnered over five hundred signatures, with the organizers stating that it had become “a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for some members of our campus community.” Matelli responded stating.."If you have bad feelings toward this and it’s triggering you, you need to seek sympathy, you need to seek help....”. In the end the sculpture stayed for the course of the exhibition and the boisterous debate continued online, ending in over one thousand signatures asking for the work's removal on change.org. Also during the sculpture's tenure at the seven sister school a bucket of yellow paint was dumped over it and it was described in the press as a crime scene.
During the spring and summer of 2016 the sculpture is being exhibited along New York City's Highline Park with continued debate and the great interest of onlookers who group around it sometimes in crowds.
Tony Matelli was born in 1971 in Chicago, IL. He received his BFA in 1993 from the Milwaukee Institute
of Art and Design, and an MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1995. Recent solo exhibitions
include Tony Matelli, New Gravity, The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA (2014); Tony
Matelli: A HUMAN ECHO, Bergen Kunstmuseum, Bergen Norway (2013); Windows, Walls and Mirrors,
Leo Koenig Inc, New York, NY (2012). Recent group exhibitions include EAGLES II, Galeria Marlborough,
Madrid, Spain (2015); Broadway Morey Boogie, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY (2014); Baroque,
Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm, Sweden (2014).
Matelli lives and works in New York City. He is represented by the Marlborough Gallery.
Tony Matelli | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC May 2015
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Tony Matelli
© Out of Sync 2016