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The Sculpture Discourse (According To CCSC’s Recent Survey)

We don't want the statue in a box, we don't want it with a fox

We don’t want the statue in a box, we don’t want it with a fox

In the two weeks since we first learned that Henry Moore’s sculpture Reclining Figure was going to be placed in front of Butler in the coming months, the stone figure has garnered quite an uproar. Petitions were circulated, Facebook events were created, op-eds were written, and the New York Times even published a story about student outrage towards the statue.

With all of this disdain in mind, CCSC recently put out a survey asking students their opinion of the new sculpture. Responses show that over 90% of students don’t agree with the statue’s placement, and the majority of those students don’t want the statue on campus at all. And many of the 860 students who responded left comments explaining their positions. It’s uncertain whether or not CCSC will be able to use this information to affect this statue’s placement, but the survey at least gave people the chance to explain their (very varied) opinions.

In this post, we’ve compiled some of the funniest, strangest, and saltiest comments (after the jump.)

“I don’t want the sculpture on campus at all.”

  • “its ugly af”
  • “thoroughly awful.”
  • “I can’t imagine every donating to a university that decided to desecrate my campus during my senior spring.”
  • “We’re going to further delineate the male/female intellectual potential by putting a nude woman displaying herself in front of a building that proudly shows the names of only rigorously intellectual and prolific men? That’s so anti-Columbian you could practically choke on it.”
  • “I think this postmodernist work would create a jarring juxtaposition with the names of the classic writers on the wall of Butler Library.”
  • “Butler is my favorite place on campus. I have visited it almost every day for the past three years. When I feel hopeless or small, I go to the top of Low Steps and look at the front façade lit up at night. … But to put a figure of a “reclining woman” in front of Butler reifies a campus climate that already overlooks and denigrates female contributions. I carry a 4.0. I have not “reclined” during my time at Columbia. Nor have any of the brilliant and driven women I’ve met here. With this sculpture, Columbia is contemptuously putting female students in their place. They are saying, “You don’t belong in the library. You belong outside of it. Preferably in bed.””
  • “It’s ugly. Do NOT put it in front of Butler. Please. I’m begging you. PLEASE!!!”
  • “This statue is problematic and it troubles me.”
  • “I don’t mind having a sculpture in front of Butler, but I’d much rather it not be a twisted hunk of scrap metal that people pretend to enjoy because it makes them sound cultured. Not all art needs to be abstract and weird.”
  • “I prefer to see again the Iglu that used to be there on a snow day”

“I’d prefer it to be placed elsewhere on campus.”

  • “no”
  • “Butler is already pretty grossly male as it is.”
  • “Can you imagine that sculpture placed on the White House South Lawn?”
  • “I think this sculpture would be great if it was installed in front of Pupin!”
  • “I actually love this sculpture.”
  • “I really dont want to have to look at that when I stumble out of Butler at 3:00 in the morning after studying for exams.”
  • “Place it in the green area in front of John Jay. Or in EC. But really, put it in front of John Jay because John Jay already sucks.”
  • “The prospective placement is absolutely moronic. Save it for Manhattanville, you colonist scum.”
  • “It’s hideous. Put it in front of/by the law school.”
  • “I think it ruins the aesthetic and feeling of peace I get when I walk into or out of Butler.”
  • “I’d prefer Mr. Nut’s sculpture. I believe it is called, ‘Deez.'”
  • “The classic architecture must be complimented to keep columbia true to its core.”
  • “I want it to be a statue of me.”

“I like its placement in front of Butler.”

  • “This entire controversy has gone down so many ludicrous tangents.”
  • “Why must we cave to these philistines”
  • “Columbia is a place for aesthetic and intellectual conversation. Don’t let reactionary demagogues stifle all that.”
  • “it’s a statue, not an instrument of torture.”
  • “To reject this sculpture is, or even to entertain the idea of doing so, to reject the reality of new traditions, new aesthetics, and the new ways that Western art and culture continues to reshape themselves. As such, it is curiously reactionary to oppose this piece on the basis of how it contradicts the intellectual principles of Columbia University. To me, Reclining Figure instead seems to represent them, or at least represent what they should be in practice as well as in words: change within and because of a tradition, but change all the same.”
  • “I love Henry Moore.”
  • “I dig it”
  • “… Furthermore, a statue in front of Butler lends it more credence as it would appear more valued and less like a backup to the supposed architectural failure of Low Library (which it actually was not but continues to be rumored to be), allowing the campus to feel more complete.”
  • “It is important to expose people to different kinds of art.”
  • “I will sit on it.”

[No answer]

  • “I really don’t give a fuck”

A visual depiction of our rage via CCSC Facebook page

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The survey wasn’t set up to limit responses to one per student. With nothing to prevent respondents from filling out as many surveys as they felt like, the results cannot be trusted to be representative of the student body. Thus it’s absurd for CCSC to say with any confidence that “90%” of students disagree with the statue’s placement. They should send out a better survey before coming to any conclusions.

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon Not true. I had to be logged in to lionmail to submit a response and I was not able to submit multiple.

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