In 2017, during the Kinsey Institute’s 70th anniversary year, faculty and staff at the Kinsey Institute suggested a memorial to honor Dr. Kinsey for his founding of the Institute and the groundbreaking research he conducted with a multi-disciplinary team to illuminate the diversity of human sexuality. This fall, that dream will come to life with the installation of a bronze life-size sculpture of Dr. Kinsey on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, joining other important figures from IU history like George Taliaferro, Lin Ostrom, Hoagie Carmichael, and Herman B Wells whose likenesses memorialize their contributions to Indiana University.
In 2021, following a competitive international call for proposals, artist Melanie Cooper Pennington was selected to design the sculpture of Dr. Kinsey and an installation site. A Lecturer of Sculpture in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University, Pennington’s work has been exhibited at galleries across the Midwest, including in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Bloomington. Her previous large public sculptures have dealt with issues of sex, the power of sexual attraction, motherhood, and reproduction. Her design for the Alfred Kinsey Legacy Sculpture demonstrates her deep understanding of Dr. Kinsey’s work, the innovation of his research methods, his renowned ability to set his interview subjects at ease, and the interactivity of his interview process.
The title of the sculpture, In warm weather, how often do you sleep nude? is drawn from one of the possible questions used by Dr. Kinsey and his research team in their sex history interviews for the Kinsey Reports. Pennington’s artwork features Dr. Kinsey seated with his interview pad, facing an empty chair, inviting us to join him in his expansive research project to document the vast array of human sexual behavior, recorded through the experiences of one individual at time. The sculpture also incorporates innovative internally-lit resin components, which will draw the attention of passersby and make it a new destination for evening strolls on the Bloomington campus.
Work on the sculpture began in the fall semester 2021 and provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Studio Art students from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design on the Bloomington campus. Pennington was able to involve fifteen undergraduate students as observers and five graduate students as assistants in the initial stages of her design decision-making and the creation of a casting model of the final design.
Pennington’s model was completed in winter 2022, and then disassembled for transport to an Arizona foundry where it is being cast in bronze. The completed bronze sculpture will be placed in a prepared site near the Kinsey Institute’s home on campus in Lindley Hall, with an unveiling ceremony on September 8th 2022.
The creation and installation of this artwork would not be possible without the funding from two crowdfunding campaigns in 2020 and 2021, and additional gifts from generous donors, including a major gift from Dr. William L. Yarber.
Thank you again to all our supporters and friends whose giving made this possible, and we hope to see you at the sculpture’s unveiling in September!