After an outcry was raised by students, potential students, alumni and the general public, Rutgers University has removed a “provocative and controversial” piece of artwork from the campus library.
The art piece, entitled “Vitruvian Man,” featured Jesus hanging from a dartboard rather than a cross. Instead of nails, red darts were placed in his chest, hands and feet, with blood dripping from the stab wounds.
The report came from Campus Reform, which explains what it found: “An alleged ‘art display’ at Rutgers University featuring a figure of Jesus Christ on a dartboard, with darts inserted where He was wounded on the Cross, is being held up as a contradiction of the school’s professed commitment to diversity,” wrote reporter Peter Fricke.
The report said the image was posted by a former Rutgers student on a Facebook page for the Class of 2016. She said it was in the school’s art library. The posting received nearly 150 comments, with some defending the display as an expression of free speech.
“An art library is a location specifically designated for art and art can (and most of the time is) be profoundly offensive,” said Parth Mehrotra. “The purpose of art is to incite an emotion and make a statement. Some good, some bad. I mean, people used to be executed for making art contradictory to their nations propaganda.”
“You’re going to go through life seeing lots of things that disrespect you. The world does not revolve around one person. Live and learn!,” Erica Steeber wrote.
“It is surprising that a state university would allow this,” wrote Rutgers graduate Natalie Caruso. “I asked them to take it down because I found it disrespectful and they refused. How is this acceptable!?”
“Honestly, if this were Muhammad or some other religious figure there would have been more of an outcry,” said Matthew Andrews, “not to mention wouldn’t have been done in the first place.”
The New Brunswick Patch reported at first librarians moved “Vitruvian Man” from prominent spot near the circulation desk to a lower shelf farther away. But then on Thursday, they took it down entirely.
“It did not meet Rutgers University Libraries policy, which requires art exhibitions and their pieces to be based on university events, curricular offerings, and topics of interest to the university community,” said Jessica Pellien, director of communications for the library system at the school.
“How artwork is selected for inclusion in an exhibit takes into consideration freedom of expression as well as the criteria listed above,” she continued. “We have concluded that the policy and process the Libraries use to select artwork for exhibitions was not followed.”