NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– A new statue is stopping people in their tracks on the High Line.

The provocative piece leaves little to the imagination, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports.

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The “Sleepwalker,” a statue by Brooklyn artist Tony Matelli, is part of the High Line’s new Wanderlust exhibition.

You may have heard about him before when vandals targeted the statue with paint when he was on display at Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 2014. A lot of people apparently didn’t want him there, they even started a thousand-signature petition to remove the sculpture.

“It’s a bit gross I think,” one visitor told CBS2.

“He should be properly clothed to be in public,” another said.

But standing in the middle of Manhattan in your underwear, the artist said, is not an offense, it’s a nightmare.

“I always wanted people to have empathy for this figure because he is so isolated, he’s so lost and he’s so helpless,” artist Matelli said.

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And he’s getting more than empathy. The curators said all the conversation this guy is sparking on the High Line is the reason they brought him there.

“He can surprise people. He can leave them completely indifferent, he can upset them, but it’s this kind of friction that is generated by public art,” Cecilia Alemani, curator of High Line art, told CBS2.

Whether you love him or hate him, he is causing conversation on everything from artistic expression to outfit choice.

“I think it all looks really real, it’s creepy but it’s cool, it’s art,” one High Line visitor said.

“Hanes baby, Hanes, they should have Fruit of the Loom for the common man,” another joked.

The Sleepwalker will be stationed at the public park until March 2017.

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