I am normally the last person to find the wanton demolition of art amusing. But I just discovered that early this year, when a windstorm hit my alma mater, Whitman College, a falling tree broke this large metal sculpture by Ed Humpherys, known to generations of Whitties as “The Giant Paper Clip” (or some variation thereof):

The Paper Clip, in Happier Days

The Fallen Paper Clip. Alas!

To add insult to injury, I learned from the alumni magazine that the actual title of the Paper Clip was “Joined Together, Let No Man Split Asunder.” Whoops! It’s asunder now. (Apparently a tree doing so was unanticipated.)

And yes, they’re trying to join it together again. It’s central to a venerable campus tradition, so they kind of have to.


  1. #1 ShellyD99
    March 26, 2008

    That’s a shame. Think of the gigantic papers it could’ve held.

  2. #2 chezjake
    March 26, 2008

    Maybe the Microsoft “Office Assistant” can help. 😉

  3. #3 hoofborne
    March 26, 2008

    The trees have just had their revenge for all the paper that clip would have held… 😉 Reeeeevenge!

  4. #4 vanderleun
    March 26, 2008

    Hard to say which is uglier, the building or the “sculpture.” Made for each other.

  5. #5 Jessica Palmer
    March 26, 2008

    I know – it’s a really unflattering view of campus, isn’t it? To be fair, that is the very back corner of the library – the only part left over, unrenovated, from the sixties or seventies. 90 degrees to the left there’s a very pretty turn-of-the-century clock tower. And a gigantic stapler. 😉

  6. #6 decrepitoldfool
    March 27, 2008

    The building in which I work is afflicted with a gaudy work of commissioned artwork, but it is indoors. It occupies the entire vertical space of our atrium and might make a fine lemur habitat.

    Our town of Normal, Illinois helpfully provides a visual definition of The Normal Family. You know, in case someone might be a liberal and unable to recognize one.

  7. #7 mdvlist
    March 28, 2008

    I can’t tell you how my evil heart leaped for joy when I saw that that thing had been taken out by the forces of nature, while the little colored glass gates in the creek by the conservatory appeared to be miraculously unharmed. Further proof that nature has taste (if those vitamin C crystals weren’t enough).

  8. #8 rhett
    April 1, 2008

    to be fair, it made a great frisbee golf “hole”

  9. #9 Marianne
    June 21, 2010

    The ads on this fracking page are blowing out my eardrum. Helllllooooo…. I can has work appropriate website that doesn’t get me fired?

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