Nine-hundred-eighty-four people have signed a petition to remove the nude poster outside of Archer Gallery. MA For Matriarchy, the current exhibit, is advertised by a poster of Ma Li, the artist, nude from the waist up. The petition is from the perspective of students, and members of the community, many of them wrote that they view the poster as pornographic.
Senseney Stokes is the art professor who runs the Archer Gallery at Clark. “I would like to explain why I think this exhibition and its message are so important,” Stokes said. Stokes read a portion of the email she sent in response to Rush. “In our society today, we are bombarded by images and messaging that depict women in oversexualized and derogatory ways. -It is vital to present an alternative female identity: an empowered, independent and autonomous woman.”
Melissa Rush, who says she is the mother of the anonymous student who started the petition, sent an email to the college stating the main reason for the petition. The anonymous student did not want to be named publicly and was said to have collaborated on this statement, according to Rush. “The lack of choice that students and the public have about seeing this display is my biggest concern. I am not concerned with how we may differ in our definitions of matriarchy, pornography, art, etc etc.”
The petition allows public comments to be made after giving your signature. With at least 50 comments, the petition has garnered strong support.
“This is an important conversation,” Stokes said in her email, “Let us not shy away from it in rage, but instead embrace the complexity and nuanced perspectives as an opportunity to learn.”