The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 January 2005

Sex Mural at U-Mass Amherst Upsets Many

Our universities running amok, another example today:

(The Republican Newspaper via MassLive) AMHERST - Are the images that now cover the walls outside Hampden Gallery at the University of Massachusetts campus obscene, thought-provoking, crude or ingenious?

Some people cannot get past the naked forms in various acts of sex and violence. For others, the drawings in black marker by Austrian artist Heimo Wallner tell a story of society, filled with everything from violence, love, weapons and fame to pop music, torture, virtue and drugs. And for some, it's hard to understand or process the hundreds of figures and their actions.

"I haven't decided if I like it or I don't," said Nick J. Stevens, a junior from Athol who took a few minutes yesterday to look at the mural. "When I first looked at it, it was a little pervasive. But as I look at it more it makes more sense. It's OK with me. I can understand why it wouldn't be OK with other people."

Genitalia are featured prominently in the mural as Wallner comments, sometimes humorously, on pornography and power, sports and fame, the college party scene, the president and cowboys and Indians, hunting, the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the exploitation of women, education and psychoanalysis.

Wallner began his mural Jan. 21. Wallner was invited to the campus as a visiting artist through a $1,200 grant from the UMass Arts Council and private funding. Line Bruntse and Steven Buddington, assistant professors of art, worked on the grant.


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