Sculpture Removed After ‘Wrecking Ball’ Parodies

Some students don’t like a Michigan school’s decision to remove a swinging sculpture that students had been using as a popular, makeshift swing since the release of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video.

Photo: AP Photo / MTV, John Shearer
MTV Video Music Awards, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Grand Valley State University in Allendale said Tuesday that it had taken down the sculpture, called a bifilar pendulum, and placed in storage due to concerns about student safety.

In the video, Cyrus appears without clothes on a swinging wrecking ball. Photos and video of people doing the same on the sculpture recently surfaced online.

“We are reassessing the safety and structural integrity of the current installation and site,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Tim Thimmesch said in a statement. “Hopefully the pendulum can be reinstalled at that location or we can find another suitable location on campus so people can enjoy it as a piece of art and stay safe.”

On Tuesday night, students gathered outside the Padnos Hall of Science, where the sculpture had been on display, to protest the decision to remove the large ball and cable that had hung there for roughly 18 years. Students held cellphones in the air and sang “Wrecking Ball.”

“It’s just college kids having fun,” Rya Northrop, a senior studying history, told The Grand Rapids Press prior to the gathering. “It’s funny. I think it’s hilarious.”

Caleb Geselamn, a pre-med freshman, said the decision to remove the landmark want too far.

“I think the college overreacted,” said Geselamn. “They probably should have just yelled at them or put signs up.”

There’s no timeline for finding a new location. The sculpture was created by artist Dale Eldred in 1973. The school said it had been considering what to do with the piece before the recent parodies, which drew attention on social media websites and elsewhere.

“It’s given us a few chuckles,” Thimmesch said.