Back in 2008, Carleton College installed cement sidewalk pavers at the corner of 2nd and Division. The phallus design soon became controversial and plans to remove it were met with a ‘Save the Penis’ campaign that ultimately failed.
The Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, together with the Northfield Historical Society and the Downtown Streetscape Task Force, have pooled their public art monies to fund the reinstallation of the phallus design on a section of Bridge Square.
Yesterday, workers began excavation. The bulbous shape of the excavated area will be reshaped into a phallus, designed by members of the Old Sculptors Project, the complementary group to the Young Sculptors Project that has installed a sculpture in front of the Northfield Library.
"We felt it was important to save a piece of Northfield history and to have it stick out right outside our door," said Hayes ‘Gabby’ Scriver, Northfield Historical Society board member.
"There was stiff opposition to the project for a while," wrote Ava Gina, Chair of the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission in an email to Locally Grown. "We went to great lengths to make our case. It was hard. In the end, we believed strongly that inserting this design into the most pubic [sic] space of Northfield was in the best interest of all."
Officials with Northfield’s Riverwalk Arts Quarter (RAQ) announced this morning that they have struck a deal with Bemidji’s Sculpture Walk to locate Deborah Davis’s Gaea beaver sculpture in Northfield along the Riverwalk.
(See the July 4 Strib article: Beaver sculpture prompts controversy in Bemidji.)
“Since securing the large bronze ‘Soldier in the Park’ sculpture from Chicago two years ago, we’ve been waiting for a complementary piece before launching our pubic sculpture walk along the Cannon River,” said RAQ Executive Director Dan Churling. “We’ll be using the pavers that were removed from the sidewalk at Carleton College as well. It’s a ménage à trois made in heaven.”
Churling maintained that Northfield’s sculpture walk would have to meet a high artistic standard. “We’re not interested in anything involving Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Where can I get name tags like this one in Northfield?
I want to have them for attendees at the upcoming banquet commemorating last fall’s Save the Penis campaign at Carleton.
In September, LG commenter Anthony Pierre kept bugging me to take note of what was happening with the recently poured sidewalk at the Carleton College corner of the intersection at 2nd and Division. I drove by, saw the construction, and saw nothing unusual. I just assumed the workers were digging up the new concrete in order to install or get at some underlying infrastructure.
Yesterday, my daughter Gilly alerted me to a Facebook group titled Save the penis. The intro text to the group starts out:
This summer, Carleton installed a new cement sidewalk to make the campus “more welcoming” to the Northfield community. Without a doubt, this is a penis. Creamy tan, complete with pubic bushes and a urethra…
That text is also used on pages 5-6 of the Oct 10 issue (PDF) of The Carl where the sidewalk is included in a piece titled Art on Campus: Analysis, Phalluses… and thusly described:
Cock No. 4: One of several cement outlines of penises installed at liberal arts colleges throughout the United States. (Middlebury’s cement penis outline is reportedly much larger than the one featured at Carleton, and the grounds at Kenyon inexplicably have two of them).
“Cock No. 4,” like the other ‘Cocks’ in its series, draws attention to the patriarchal structures of power still existent in society, this exposition of patriarchy being, one hypothesizes, a necessary step in its ultimate disassembling. The cement penis outline, a part of the very ground the viewer walks on, urges a recognition of the cultural ubiquity of patriarchal structures and subsequent confrontation with them.
Left: Cock No. 4 has been — what’s a good term here? — surgically altered by TPTB at Carleton.
Right: Campus sidewalk artists at work.
Permission to use these photos granted. Click the thumbnail penises to enlarge.