Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dog-Killing Past Still Haunts Otterness as Sculpture Comes to Dumbo

Many people love the whimsical art work of sculpture Tom Otterness. The photo at left is one of his works installed at MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn (another one involves a crocodile slinking down a manhole in the public walkway there.)

Meanwhile, Dumbo prepares for the installation of its own Otterness piece next Tuesday.

According to the NY Sun, Two Trees Management has arranged for a large bronze sculpture to be installed on the hill bordered by Washington and Prospect streets and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. It will be unveiled on April 15 and will remain in place until January 2009.

But a blast from the past still haunts the Brooklyn-based artist.

The Wichita State University community recently reacted to news that Otterness shot an adopted dog to death 30 years ago as part of an art piece.

Some commentators on the Wichita Eagle blog argued the incident was reason enough to scrap Otterness’ $450,000 "Millipede" sculpture planned near the school’s Ulrich Museum of Art. But others point out that all of us have done stupid things when young, and that the past is past.

A Brownstoner commentator says the dog art was called “Shot Dog Piece."

According to the Witchita Eagle, the artist’s studio issued this statement: “In 1977, I was a young artist having a very rough time. I had anger at myself and at the world. What I did was symbolic of how I was feeling internally and it is something I would never do today.”

Another interesting link in ArtCalZine.
The New York Times mentions it, briefly, here.

UPDATE to this post HERE.
UPDATE UPDATE: Otterness apologizes here.

Photo courtesy Tom Otterness studios.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy Cr*P! There is no apology or mention of this piece on his website.If this shooting the dog for art and fame thing is true he needs to explain!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of crap,I hope every dog in brooklyn finds there way to this sculpture and leaves of few of their own works of art to let otterness feel some heat.

Anonymous said...

This just can't be true mcBrooklyn. April 1 was last week. Has anyone reached the artist? Has anyoneseen this art piece? Has he ever spoken about it?
C'mon, film yourself shooting a dog? And then continue on as a commercial artist.

I just don't think he would ever be successful/(that people/groups would buy his work) if this were really true.

Please mcbrooklyn, ha ha April 9th??!!

mcbrooklyn said...

Sadly, this is not an April Fools joke. Or any kind of joke. Click on some of the links above to read more.

Anonymous said...

If not for the Churches, Brooklyn would certainly be the Borough of Dogs---and this guy has been in the neighborhood all this time?

And with no clear expression of regret? Forgiveness is a tricky thing, but got to apologize first, No?

Perhaps its time to get mug shots of him and post at parks and dog stores.

I doubt DUMBO will approve once they know of his outrageous past. A dog protest?

Anonymous said...

I have always appreciated the 14th st a/e/c station for those quirky sculptures.Sadly, after learning about him shooting a dog for art, I won't look at them again in the same way.Have blood all over them.

And the MTA probably built him a second home for those.

Unless he apologizes --if he actually feels regret--on his website or soemthing, I just can't see how he should be given that public space. And wonder who is paying him this time.Kind of rewards it.

Have you tried calling him Mcbrooklyn?

Anonymous said...

Otterness: its supposed to me Man Bites Dog, not Man Shoots Dog.a#@hole!

Anonymous said...

iam still sick at the thought of someone adopting a dog knowing he will shoot it for the demands of his art, and then going on to build his career on that dead dog that was his to protect

Anonymous said...

otterness is now a millionaire

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the very good and nice people at Mobile Mutts know who lives nearby?

Anonymous said...

2:19, curiosity got the better of me.too much. now it's really getting sick and weird.

Anonymous said...

sadly, i am not certain than anyone cares about this.
not even the clients of mobile mutts or the dogs who will surely get walked to this new scuplture, whose owners say "wow isn't this cool?"

oh well. this guy's rich now, and a poor pooch got shot for his art keep moving on...

Anonymous said...

mcbrooklyn---does two trees know this guy is a dog shooter?

Anonymous said...

This is why I have little respect for artists, or at least the self-centered art school drama queen type. Whaa, the world is so sad. Now I am going to kill a dog to express my inner pain. Grow up. Get a job and support your own creativity. Next time you can't handle the weight of the world shoot yourself instead. We'd all be better off.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a sadist. Animal cruelty is not art. Does the ASPCA know about this? He should be arrested and shot. And then the video should be posted on YouTube. What a jerk.

Xliberal said...

He's a nice guy who did a dumb thing, and regrets it.

Anonymous said...

My husband, myself and our dog were planning a trip to Fairmount Park this weekend. I did some research and found out that Mr. Otterness was approved for a sculpture there. Then I read about what he did 20 years ago.

I felt instantly sick, and still feel sick to my stomach. I now question even going, if it wasn't for our dog having a good time walking at this Park. However, if this sculpture is there, I don't think I can go.

This man belongs in jail. Period. Can you imagine? A beautiful, innocent dog that was lucky enough to be adopted, and then SHOT TO DEATH by this murderer, and VIDEOTAPED?

An apology is not enough. It will never be enough. I read his apology too, it was short and simple and obviously written just to appease his critics. He dismissed it as something he did when he was young that he regrets. No, something that you do when you are young and that you regret are: drinking, drugs, having a one-night stand, etc. etc.

YOU DO NOT MURDER A BEAUTIFUL INNOCENT CREATURE. Please, write to the tourism site, www.philly.com, to let them know your disgust. Do not allow this murderer's sculpture to see the light of day. He did not allow this dog to live, he is a monster. Period.

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap. He should create a large sculpture of the dog as a memorial and it should be created without any cost to anyone except himself. And it should be publicly displayed permanently during his lifetime.

Publius said...

Talk is indeed cheap. Otterneess can't help the dog he sadistally murdered in 1977 anymore, but he can help the millions of dogs that now suffer. Otterness should donate 10% of his earnings to dog related charities and make a real difference in the world. That would be a proper and honorable way to atone for the crimes of his past.

Darren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If he belongs in jail or worse because he shot a dog, then anyone, no matter who you are including our very own soldiers, who has killed anything as small as an insect should be put in jail as well. That is what you're demanding. Move on people, killing is happening all over the world including here in the US and I'm not seeing as big as a fit thrown as all these people are throwing right now.

Joan said...

The guy has apologized, publicly. I don't think killing a dog is the foundation of his work or his fortune. I think in 1970, a dogs death was seen less sentimentally than it is now:No, I don't admire him for it, but in 1970, lots of dogs were shot, to put them out of their misery, because they bit etc... now only vets can kill a dog. The dogs trust them too... Burrough s got less flack for killing his wife for crying out loud. http://www.lucaspickford.com/burrjoan.htm