Students at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., may not be connoisseurs of modern art but are nevertheless strongly objecting to the student council's purchase of a $12,000 sculpture, charging "misuse" of their tuition fees. Phil Jurik, the managing editor of the student paper, the Northern Star, said this week.
"Six Questions", a ten-ton modern sculpture made of rusted steel was recently installed in front of the student union amid a crowd of 100 students who opposed its purchase and gathered to jeer as a crane lowered the sculpture into place. One student, trying to deface the work, broke off a piece of metal which later was welded back into place.
Students complained that the sculpture--a 48-ft.-long cafeteria table with benches on either side--was paid for out of their $150 annual student-activities fee used to fund a shuttle bus service, the computer center and student groups.
"It is great for the university to have culture but this particular piece was a waste of money, especially considering that our fees have been raised while bus and library services have been reduced," Jean Marie Gallagher, a junior at the university, said this week.
The sculpture consists of six questions cut into the table top: "Do you need a bath?", "Are you going home?", "Do you cry?", "Have you been introduced?". "What is your next move?". "Do you know the facts?"
Steven Beyer, the creator of the work, never intended his sculpture to "cause such an uproar." He said this work that he based the questions on the "hierarchy of human needs developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow.
"Experiencing the work involves a dialogue, and college is a dialogue searching for questions and answers," he added.