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College removes KC artist's sculpture after naked 'Wrecking Ball' parodies

Updated: 2013-09-18T16:32:04Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

Ah, the things kids think of these days.

After students at a Michigan college started posing naked – Miley Cyrus style – on top of a wrecking-ball-like sculpture on campus, the school removed the piece of art created by the late Kansas City artist Dale Eldred.

The large ball and cable that swung like a pendulum had been on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. for about 18 years.

The internationally known Eldred, a long-time faculty member of the Kansas City Art Institute, was known for his public art projects.

One of his landmark works in Kansas City is the “Steeple of Light” sculpture at the Community Christian Church near the Country Club Plaza, which his widow Roberta Lord completed after his death. Eldred died in 1993 at his West Bottoms studio trying to save his tools and equipment from rising flood waters.

The pendulum sculpture at the Michigan school is a 42-inch steel ball hanging on a 50-foot cable. The so-called “GV Wrecking Ball” is so popular that it even has its own Twitter account.

Grand Valley students started posing naked on top of the ball after Cyrus released her “Wrecking Ball” video. Pictures and Vine videos of nude students, recreating the video in which Cyrus sits naked on top of a swinging wrecking ball, started showing up online.

School officials released a statement on Tuesday saying they had removed the sculpture and placed it in storage out of concern for the students’ safety.

The news didn’t go over well with students. On Tuesday night they gathered outside the building where the sculpture had been displayed, held cellphones in the air and sang “Wrecking Ball.”

"I think the college overreacted," pre-med freshman Caleb Geselman told the Grand Rapids Press. "They probably should have just yelled at them or put signs up."

College officials hope the pendulum can be reinstalled “or we can find another suitable location on campus so people can enjoy it as a piece of art and stay safe,” the school’s statement said.

They’d better figure it out before the start of the next school year.

Riding the ball, as it’s called, is apparently a freshman tradition.

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