See the Most Bizarre Photos of Tony Matelli’s High Line Sleepwalker

Look, but don't touch.

A Tourist holds hands with artist Tony Matelli's
A Tourist holds hands with artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Strategically placed in one of the most popular tourist sites in New York, many passersby on the High Line have lined up to take pictures with a half-naked man sporting sagging Hanes underwear, who appears to lurch forward with closed eyes. The piece is titled Sleepwalker by American artist Tony Matelli.

The artist’s approach to making hyper-realistic sculptures has also made them a target. Two years ago, Matelli’s sleepwalking man was placed in Wellesley College, Massachusetts, and was vandalized with yellow paint. The controversy that occurred after the installment of the artwork was centered around the work being viewed as “threatening” by some students.

Last year, the artist created a lost seeing-eye dog sculpture in the New York City subway line on 72nd Street and Broadway. It was stolen and later found abandoned at Riverside Park.

A Tourist stops to pose with artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. A Tourist stops to pose with Matelli’s “Sleepwalker” (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Now, the sleepwalker is firmly planted in New York for the next year as part of the elevated park’s “Wanderlust” group exhibition, and tourists are loving it. Most of the sightseers below were too occupied with selfies, hugs, and Instagram opportunities to confront the “lost and adrift” sculpture, which, as the High Line advertises, “questions the extent to which any one of us is ever fully aware of our own surroundings.

Check out some of the most bizarre photos we’ve seen so far.

A Tourist holds hands with artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. A tourist holds hands with Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

A Tourist looks at artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. A tourist with Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

A Tourist embraces artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. A tourist embraces Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Tourists stop to look at artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. Tourists stop to look at Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Tourist pose with artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. Tourist pose with Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Tourists stop to look at artist Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" (2014), a lifelike figure is of a man in white briefs wandering in his sleep with outstretched arms installed on the Highline as part of the show "Wanderlust" April 25, 2016. Wanderlust is a group exhibition that runs April 21, 2016 March 2017 Various locations on the High Line / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Matelli. Tourists stop to look at Sleepwalker (2016). Courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Sleepwalker is on view at the High Line, April 2016–March 2017.


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