“Why the bra?!” asks Art School registrar Kelsey Hughes, repeating the question about her staff pick: Tom Wesselmann’s aluminum sculpture Dropped Bra (1988). “I love it! I remember coming here and seeing it as a kid and not knowing what it was at first, and then finally realizing what it was.”

Hughes is always happy to visit her lifelong favorite, as she did last week during a lunch break away from her usual post at the Art School’s front desk. She has been involved at the Art School since she was 16, starting as a teaching assistant for young artist classes and gradually filling administrative needs, like managing the flood of course registrations each semester.

For Hughes, an avid printmaker and someone typically drawn to two-dimensional art, Wesselmann’s lacy, larger-than-life, almost cubist article of clothing stands out among the many permanent outdoor sculptures that dot the lawn around Spalding House. “I just like how soft it is, even though it’s made out of metal,” Hughes says, her dark purple hair and colorfully checkered dress making a near complement to the sculpture’s pink tone.

“This color pink is in my life a lot,” Hughes says. “I have three sisters and went to an all-girls school, so I feel like I grew up in girl world, and home is a bra on the floor.”

Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004)
Dropped Bra, 1988
Painted aluminum
Gift of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, 2011, and Gift of Margo Leavin and Donald P. Lippincott (TCM.1992.5)