The Student Body (sculpture)

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Date: 1992

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Public Art


Artist: Julia Balk commissioned by the University of North Carolina

Confronting Bodies: Students

Dates of Action: 1992

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Description of Artwork: In the sculpture, an African-American male spins a basketball on one finger, an African-American female walks with a book balanced on her head, and a Caucasian couple is portrayed with the man's hand on the woman's hip.

The Incident: Students of the University criticized The Student Body on the grounds that it was sexist and racist. Critics requested the removal of the statue. Offensive and defensive tactics erupted from conservative and liberal factions of the University continuing for weeks.

Results of Incident: Finally, university officials decided to move the statues to a less public location in an enclosed garden. But before the move could be made, vandals tipped over one figure and took the basketball.

Source: Artistic Freedom Under Attack 1992