What Will Become of Emma Sulkowicz's Mattress Now That She's Graduated?
Now that Emma Sulkowicz — the girl who raised awareness about rape with a special visual arts project — has graduated, what will become of that controversial mattress?
"If some sort of museum wants to buy it, then I'm open to that," she told the New York Times on the university's Class Day. "But I'm not going to just throw it away."
This wouldn't be the first time a mattress has made its way to a museum, Vulture reports.
In 1955, Robert Rauschenberg introduced "Bed," an exhibit that featured a pillow, sheet, and quilt splattered with oils and hung on the wall like a painting. In 1999, Tracey Emin unveiled "My Bed," which showcased a bed with stained sheets and underwear.
Sulkowicz first made national news in September 2014 when she was seen carrying a mattress around Columbia University’s campus in protest of the administration's response to her alleged sexual assault.
She carried that same mattress across the stage at graduation in May.
During her sophomore year in August 2012, Sulkowicz was sexually assaulted by a fellow Columbia student. After a difficult battle with multiple filed complaints, the university found her alleged rapist not responsible for the attack, and deemed her accusations false. The Columbia student chose to carry around a mattress, similar to the one she says she was raped on, for her senior thesis in a visual arts project titled, “Carry That Weight.”
Sulkowicz's innovative visual arts piece not only raised awareness of sexual assault, but proved that you are not alone in times of hardship, as others helped her carry the mattress during her protest.
At graduation, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti alluded to Sulkowicz in his commencement speech, reports NBC News.
"You've held contrary opinions, held die-ins and sit-ins, carried mattresses," Garcetti said. "Never stop being academics, and never stop being activists."