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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

“Disorderly Conduct” collapses, all towers removed

On the afternoon of Oct. 25, two of the many towers that make up Patrick Dougherty’s stick sculpture, “Disorderly Conduct,” collapsed just days after Guilford’s Community Senate approved funds for light renovation and maintenance to the piece.

“There was a large gust of wind,” said senior Laura Burt, who witnessed the collapse. “One fell and pulled the second down with it.”

Due to rotting in the base, which is also  present in the whole structure, the grounding support was weakened and could no longer hold up the weight of the two towers.  In addition, mold, fungus and mushrooms have all taken residence in the sculpture.

Just as they invited Dougherty and his work to campus in 2011, Terry Hammond, founding director and curator of the Guilford College Art Gallery, and David Petree, director of environmental sustainability, were the ones who made the decision to take the piece down.

“I am sad to see it go, but I realize it was time,” said President and Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar. “It was both sad and fitting. It was almost like a natural passing.”

The construction of Dougherty’s “Disorderly Conduct” began with a small paper wasp nest found when volunteers were hunting for timber about campus. That wasp nest became the major inspiration for the sculpture. From there, community hands wove together sticks into the structure that  Guilford students have come to know and love.

“I believe the fact that the sculptures fell because of their natural and physical deterioration eases the situation, even though my friends and I were looking forward to taking a graduation picture alongside the (sculpture) to add to our collection of our many Guilford memories,” said Burt.

The sculpture lived for nearly two years, from the start of construction on Feb. 2, 2011 to now.

In addition to Guilford faculty and students, community members ranging from Canterbury School eighth-graders to 84-year-old locals came together to help create the sculpture.

“I have to think about it in a different way and remember the friendships that have been formed,” said Hammond. “We have a lot of great documentation of it, but the friendships that have been formed through it are probably one of the greatest takeaways.”

Even during its short life, “Disorderly Conduct,” like the intertwining sticks that make the piece itself, has become woven into campus life and made lasting impacts on the Guilford community.

Senior Russell Alterman said, “It added a sense of uniqueness to the campus in the sense that, hey, we had this housing-like structure made of sticks that other campuses don’t have, because we had a famous artist who came here who chose our campus particularly to make this. It was a unique thing to Guilford.”

“Disorderly Conduct” is scheduled for a ceremonial burning on Friday, Nov. 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the middle Meadows. Along with the non-student volunteers, all of Guilford College is invited to witness the towers burn away.

“Like all temporary things which are from nature, nature takes them back,” said Chabotar. “(But) we’ll have our memories.”

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