Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

While The Phillipian’s article “The Myth of the ‘Penis’ Statue,” by Zoe Chazen on the statue outside Pearson and the Library, helped in shedding light on history behind the statue, I felt it too readily dismissed the interpretation of the statue as a phallic symbol.

While dismissing the statue as simply a penis insults its quality as artwork, restricting the interpretation of the statue to non-phallic symbols also takes away from its open interpretation. The audience, and not the artist, makes the final interpretation of a piece; once artwork is created the artist must surrender it completely to the audience’s understanding. The intentions of the statue’s original artist, Gerry Shertzer, are of little significance to what the statue means.

For example, when my English class held a teleconference with the author of one of our studied texts, we found that she had not intended to make subtle connections and messages through specific descriptions, but this did not change our interpretation. While our attitudes toward interpreting the book changed with this knowledge, we did not, nor should have, dismiss our earlier understanding of the novel.

As the article quotes Shertzer, “It is open to interpretation.” Why suppress our interpretation of the statue by limiting it to more “appropriate” connotations?

-Charles Guan ’12