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Wellesley 'Sleepwalker' Statue Now On Display In New York City

WELLESLEY (CBS) -- One of the sculptures displayed on New York City's High Line urban promenade may look familiar to Wellesley College graduates.

"Sleepwalker," the eerily realistic sculpture of a sleeping man walking in his underwear that was on display on Wellesley's campus for several months in 2014, is appearing in New York as part of an exhibit called "Wanderlust," which will explore and celebrate the act of walking as inspiration for art.

A press release for the exhibit called the statue, created by New York-based artist Tony Matelli, "An amusing take on the theme of walking."

"Matelli's work challenges preconceived ideas about traditional monumental portraiture, and questions the extent to which any one of us is ever fully aware of our own surroundings, especially considering the constant distraction of the screens that supplement our lived experience," read the release.

"Sleepwalker" statue on Wellesley College campus. (WBZ-TV)

In 2014, the sculpture sparked debate at the all-female Wellesley College, with some students calling for its removal. One petition called the statue a "source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault" for many.

Matelli defended his sculpture in 2014, saying, "I think that these people are misconstruing this work ... I think they're seeing something in this work that isn't there. But who am I to say how people should react to this?"

Sleepwalker Statue
Someone sprayed yellow paint on the Sleepwalker. (WBZ-TV)

Later that year, someone vandalized the statue by spraying yellow paint on it--but the college resisted calls to take it down, keeping it on display until July 2014.

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