The “Sleepwalker:” Now Available for Selfies

by Micaela Stanley

Tony Martelli's controversial sculpture comes to the High Line in NYC
In a dense part of an already dense New York City stands a man in Hanes underwear frozen in perpetual sleepwalk. The man is a hyper realistic sculpture titled “Sleepwalker” and it is the most recent work of the artist Tony Martelli who’s showcasing it as apart of the group exhibition “Wanderlust.” The piece is one of the many works being featured throughout New York’s High Line area, chosen because of it’s excessive daily crowds of commuters and tourists.

An obvious social commentary on the way we live our lives, "Sleepwalker" draws attention to our collective tendency to sleepwalk through our days and our apparent inability to be fully aware of where we are or who we’re with at a given moment. By trudging through the heat, crowds, and various other mundanities of our day, we become zombie-like figures; lost, adrift and oblivious to world that surrounds us.

Although Martelli’s sculpture is designed to emphasize our loss of connection with the physical world, the sculpture has actually become a part of the non-physical world we lose ourselves in; it’s become the subject of selfies and Instagram posts, and by taking its place among the pictures of avocado toasts and the LACMA lights,  "Sleepwalker" has gained notoriety. It’s become an icon of the internet world—a non-personal world that it too will sleepwalk through.

On display until March 2017.

Photo: courtesy Friend of the Highline H/T Artnet