Fornication in the forest: $75K sculpture placed in Quinnipiac’s Pine Grove

Catherine Boudreau

Itzik Benshalom's "Facing Couple" was erected in Pine Grove Wednesday. Photo by Lenny Neslin/Chronicle

The Lenders have made many generous contributions to Quinnipiac University, including the school of business and the basketball court at the TD Bank Sports Center. Their newest donation, valued at $75,000, could be the most surprising.

A new sculpture was placed Wednesday in Pine Grove about 100 feet away from the security booth at Quinnipiac’s New Road entrance. Marvin and Helaine Lender, two active philanthropists in the Quinnipiac community and members of Quinnipiac’s Board of Trustees, gave the sculpture as a gift to Quinnipiac, Vice President for Development & Alumni Affairs Donald Weinbach said.

“I think they truly understand the value of art on this campus,” Weinbach said.

Itzik Benshalom, the artist, named it “Facing Couple.” His website prices the statue at $75,000 with a $3,000 shipping and handling fee.
[polldaddy poll=5582825]His website says it is an “impressive example of abstracted human figures imbued with emotive undertones.”

Said Weinbach: “We want to challenge students to think about human relationships, and what better way to do that than with an impressive piece of art?”

Weinbach added that he was eager to hear student feedback on the new piece, as it is open to a wide range of interpretation.

Several students chimed in on Facebook after pictures of the statue took over students’ news feeds. The general consensus was that the work portrayed sexual undertones.

“You can’t tell me that looks like anything but sex,” junior Kyle Bascom posted.

Maureen Gard disagreed with Bascom and said the sculpture was more about love than sex.

“I personally don’t see anything sexual about this piece,” she posted. “I see two lovers sitting next to each other, legs in each other’s laps. Has no one ever done this with this significant other?”

Some students, however, were just blatantly confused. Graduate student Maggie Lohmiller said, “The new statue in Pine Grove has me this close to looking up on Cosmo’s website exactly what is going on here.”

Matt Eisenberg and Sarah Rosenberg contributed to the reporting in this story.