Chicken Sculpture

News Shorts

Paul Rotterdam, senior lecturer on Visual Studies, has removed his live-chicken-and-egg sculpture from Carpenter Center after the hen was stolen Monday and replaced with a roast chicken on a platter.

The kidnapped chicken, hatched by Rotterdam and students in his course, VES 120b, "Intermediate Painting," was mysteriously returned to Carpenter Center yesterday, alive and well, with a letter of apology signed by The ACME Art Project, Rotterdam said yesterday.

The members of ACME are unknown, Rotterdam said. He added that he does not believe "Carpenter Center people" stole the bird.

Rotterdam said he called the Harvard Police after theft "not to prosecute the persons who did it, but to prosecute bad ideas, unimaginative ideas."

Rotterdam labeled the theft "unoriginal. At Harvard lots of logical things are done, but nothing original is done: It was logical to put the dead bird in, but not original," he said.


The chicken-and-egg sculpture was intended to symbolize creativity and the potential of creativity, Rotterdam said.

"I wanted to give a lesson in imagination because it is always assumed that Carpenter Center is teaching crafts, and because Carpenter Center should be a live place," Rotterdam said.

When Rotterdam walked into the building Tuesday and saw the roasted bird, he said yesterday, "I asked myself, 'Is Carpenter Center really a dead place?'"