BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
During college, many students try to better understand themselves by taking classes that interest them and joining student organizations. County College of Morris students who consider themselves mystical beings, probably got adopted from an alien family, or want to relax with friends by trying some witchcraft, might want to report to the pole formations near and in the woods next to the Learning Resource Center. Outside of the woods next to the building, stands a metal pole 60 feet tall. In the woods stand two parallel vertical metal poles about 20 feet tall; on them rests a horizontal metal pole, approximately the same size.
When students learn about these practically useless formations, they often get confused and curious.
“There is a lot of weird stuff out there. We live in New Jersey,” said a student who preferred to only give his first name, Grant. He noticed that the shadow from the vertical pole would, at some point during the day, cast a shadow over the sculpture in the woods, similar to an ancient sundial. “I guarantee you, dude, it’s some kind of alignment thing.”
“What I like about it is we display art in public places,” said Dr. Edward J. Yaw, president of CCM. “Our faculty have displayed their art, particularly in DeMare Hall.”
According to a press release from May 11, 1981, the idea for these sculptures came from CCM’s Cultural Affairs Committee. Students, faculty, and staff on the committee claimed the campus lacked outdoor sculptures. It used concerts to help pay the college’s $7,500 portion of the joint purchase by CCM and the artist The American artist Tal Streener sculpted these poles that it describes as “man-made compliments to nature” in Purchase, N.Y. There, he served as head of the Sculpting Department at the time of construction.
“I didn’t know what that was,” said Israel Torrefranca, a nursing major. “It’s kind of ironic. You have a piece of metal among trees, so it’s more like a human, I guess, symbolizing progress. I guess it could be good or bad depending on how you interpret progress.”
What now puzzles passersby once generated great attention, praise, and harsh condemnation on campus.
“The fact that it is creating a little controversy is perfectly normal and understandable,” said Tony Lordi, assistant professor of art soon after the sculptures’ construction. “In fact, it is essential to the essence of art. When people come to us and ask for an explanation, we on the art faculty team tell them that it is a symbol of life and death, plus and minus, of positive and negative.”
Faculty and student art is publicly displayed in DeMare and Cohen Hall, as well as in the library.