Monday, April 14, 2008

Artist Tom Otterness Apologizes for Shooting Dog

Artist Tom Otterness has responded to the heartfelt requests of many McBrooklyn readers who have commented about something he did decades ago. (Briefly, he shot an adopted dog to death 30 years ago as part of an art piece. More here and here. )
McBrooklyn has just received his email. We are posting it here:

"As you must understand this is a very difficult and painful situation for me. Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for.

Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made.

I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Tom Otterness"


The Brooklyn Eagle has also come out with a report on this story:
Artist Otterness Apologizes for Decades-Old Dog-Killing Incident

- Tom Otterness Installation On Hold in SF. 9/21/11
- Otterness 'Large Covered Wagon' Feted in Dumbo
- Otterness Large Covered Wagon Installed in Dumbo
- Dog-Killing Past Still Haunts Otterness as Sculpture Comes to Dumbo

64 comments:

BJ said...

That sounds sincere.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Don't forgive you. Anyone that can ever do something like that at any age in their lives is sick in the head.

Rob Blatt said...

That's it? Please forgive me?

If he had made an offensive piece of art that did not involved the unnecessary death of a living creature maybe this would do. That's the kind of apology you give someone after eating their food in the fridge, not the kind of apology you give a community and a city that is in love with their dogs.

It's amazing that public funds are given to this guy.

rh said...

Screw that! Since when is 25 years old not mature enough to understand that it's WRONG to kill a living being in the name of art?

Anonymous said...

And the truth shall set you (almost) free...it's a start

Anonymous said...

Way to keep on'em mcBrooklyn!

Nice work, and today is certainly starting better than yesterday.

Anonymous said...

As a person, I give him one nad for the response, and the second will wait to see if he shows today.

But as an artist, he'd get both if he put his Shot Dog Piece on his online resume and just be transparent about it.

And he'd be an example to other angry 25year old budding whatevers to just carve their ear off instead and leave the pooches alone.

Anonymous said...

At least I can begin to work with this statment and start to reconcile the act with the art that I know.

The absence of regret was just too much and too weird. Does he go through this everywhere he has a scuplture? And why the statement now after all this time to his hoemtown? (And why to the Eagle of all places? Not the Times or NYmag or Sun which recently ran a story?)

Strange but definitely a start. Thanks mcbrooklyn.

Anonymous said...

I think he sent it to whomever contacted him about it - McBrooklyn, Brooklyn Eagle, etc. I guess the NY Times and others didn't ask him about it and he chose to let sleeping dogs lie as they say and not bring it up if not asked.

Anonymous said...

Let he who is without sin throw the first turd.

Anonymous said...

great for the response mcbrooklyn, and am presently mulling his apology over, but suggest otterness take a break from public art as his crap stills stinks

Anonymous said...

Thanks for turing this info into action McBrooklyn. I'm in for another day...

Anonymous said...

Still Wondering what the Mobile Mutts Think?

Anonymous said...

The Two trees really slid into some sh*t with this one.
The Top Dog cant be too happy about it.

Anonymous said...

He needs to be held to the same standards everyone held Michael Vick to.
Hound (no pun intended)him until he loses future revenue and vilify him.
Unlike Vick, who can claim his 'country' upbringing made him feel like what he did was no big deal, this guy did what he did in the name of art - a calculated choice. Isn't what he did then more heinous than the Michael Vick case?

Anonymous said...

It seems more like an aberration in his life than a way of life. Since he's expressed sorrow, and since the media exposure is probably more punishment to a public artist like Otterness than going to jail, I's venture to say his debt is paid.

Anonymous said...

Not to defend his action, but shooting one dog does not even begin to compare to Vick's torture of many. Not even in the same ballpark. Not even on the same f#cking planet.

Anonymous said...

People are a little self-righteous, no? Yeah, killing a dog is a pretty crappy thing to do, but we slaughter and torture animals everyday in this country without any seeming remorse. Is killing a dog for entertainment (and feeling horrible about it) any worse than torturing an animal for food that we don't really need?

I eat meat, so this isn't a rant "other people"--I fall squarely within this myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm for dogging City Parks (and the MTa) into telling us what standards they have for use of ourland by artists.
One dead dog ok, two no

Anonymous said...

1012 I think its ok tobe " a little self-righteous" because i eat meat too, and if it wasn't dead already, i'd proably have to figure out how to hunt or slaughter chickens and go do that.And I'd tell you about it if asked.
But I haven't shot a dog for artsake, and then made anice ($$)life as an artist poking fun at the fat cats and their greed

ps. the chicken and beef killers in this country are pretty upfront with what they do (every freakin quarter)--otterness was not and whats more, takes a couple of blogs like this to cough up some regret out of him

Anonymous said...

I 'm glad he apologized but I'm still going to ask my fourlegged friend to fertilize this dumb wagon

Anonymous said...

1031 [this is 1012]--really though, what is the difference between killing a dog for a movie and paying someone to torture and kill a pig so you can eat it (and I love bacon)? We're not starrving, and we could surely go without eating so much meat. Killing a dog is more sadistic I guess, but there doesn't seem to be an ocean of moral difference between the two. People think dogs are cute and a lot like people, so they get more outraged when a dog is killed than when some other animal is tortured and killed. But all of this moral preening is a bit much, no?

Anonymous said...

1043/1012 the difference: killing a dog for a movie is illegal in the us, and paying someone for dead bacon that i can eat is something I enjoy, is quite legal and is called commerce. (unless you're george clooney--and i dont think you are)

morally, our society protects those we let into our homes and become part of our family. outrage at the otterness killing comes from a good place, a place that elevates us from the state of nature and moral slipshodness you spout, this is a place where I'm quite content to draw a line.

you be where you want to be--with profiteers and moral grandstanders on oneside or with the bacon cheeseburgers like me. Idont care.Go ahead and just eat cake.

Anonymous said...

I guess every dog has his day.I'm glad he said what he said and now we can try to forgive or not. or let it be.
BTW does this area have a leash law?

Steven Mesler said...

My understanding about the piece is it was in the context of a protest against the Viet Nam War. He was pointing out that more people would be outraged by him shooting a dog than they were by the famous photo of the South Vietnamese general shooting a prisoner in the head.

He was right. We are still talking about the killing of a dog and not the daily loss of life in our current rendition of Vietnam...Iraq.

Happy LOL Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy LOL Day said...

Yes I removed my heartfelt comment before because -thankfully - people see this person for what he is. Thank you :)
He cashed in now make it right, give all the money back, or to dog rescue, you have had your undeserved time in the sun.

Anonymous said...

to steven mesler--

thanks for your post. and for your attempt to drag the iraq war into a vanity dog killing thirty years ago. many many many people were upset with the vietnam war but did not kill dogs on film to protest it, and then go on to make money from their art. many many many people are upset with the iraq war but have found a lot more creative ways to express their feelings without killing dogs on film.

if what you say is true, then besides being -really bad art-otterness was a few years late and also, where's his iraq version update.

are you a collector friend of his who now faces some questions from family and friends over your blood stained work? Now that more people know about it, it's not such a sexy showoff conversation piece is it? its tough when children start reading and asking questions isnt,and perhaps the "joneses' have the last laugh on you?

his stock deserves to dip, but dont worry your heirs will thank you as after otternesss passes his work should resume its upward climb.

keep up with the twisted logic and stay away from my dog.

Anonymous said...

oh, please, it's just a dog.....they get killed everyday, in dog pounds all over the world..... and no one seems to care about that?

Anonymous said...

a snuff film is a snuff film--otterness is still a snuff film profiteer
(and i bet that dog stillbarks in the dead of night, so i worry not)

Happy LOL Day said...

Dogs killed in shelters and no one cares what the?!! Yeah A LOT of people care and it would be nice to have TAX money help pay for shelters and rescue efforts not his "art" garbage. I am not happy my money is stolen to support inhuman creatures like him. Dogs die in shelters because they can't find homes for them- Oh wait! Maybe Tom can adopt another and make it think it's going to a safe home and then he can just kill it again to renew his desire for attention and money! Go Tom!

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the artist's response and his sharing his pain;a primer on actions and consequences. also wonder if melted this bull down, what size of contribution to a canine rescue group it would make.his call to make

Brklynstories said...

Otterness sounds a lot like the recent Damien Hirst. Hirst was apparently mad at the world as well while collecting dead sheep, sharks and cows before storing them in chemically-treated tanks.

MC 900 Foot Douchebag said...

I have quoted a couple of posts from earlier that I wish to make comment on. They are below my comments.

I find it interesting the person attacking Steven Melser's comments posted anonymously and made assumptions which probably seem insane to anyone with a brain. Mr. Mesler basically states the potential reasoning behind the "art piece," which seems to be incorrect, but could seem plausible if you had no other context of the piece. The anonymous poster also seems to want to ignore the war in Iraq, which is what most Americans seem to want to do. Lets get in our SUV's and complain about the cost of gas anyone?

But, I digress.

Is there any proof Otterness didn't film the killing of the dog and then eat it? In many parts of the world a dog is considered food. If it had been a deer and he was working on a hunting show on ESPN would it have made it OK?

I also find it enjoyable that the Anonymous One would assume that Mr. Mesler owns a large collection of Otterness originals just because he thinks that 30 years later an artist could realize he was way off the mark when he was creating something he thought was art.

My brother-in-law shot a pheasant once and regretted it every time he looked at the mounted bird. Should we all head to his house with pitchforks and torches?

I find the shooting of a dog NOT to be art, but I also have seen the 20/20 segment on art critics evaluating "art" done by 7 year olds who talked about the "brilliant use of spatial blah blah blah and color blah blah blah" and then when they found out it was done by a 7 year old they looked quite embarrassed.

At any rate, this guy gets a pass from me because it's 30 years later and he's probably not out there killing dogs on the weekend.

Anon 3:09am, thanks for reading this, while you were, I was silently strangling your dog...


April 15, 2008 12:01 PM
Steven Mesler said...
My understanding about the piece is it was in the context of a protest against the Viet Nam War. He was pointing out that more people would be outraged by him shooting a dog than they were by the famous photo of the South Vietnamese general shooting a prisoner in the head.

He was right. We are still talking about the killing of a dog and not the daily loss of life in our current rendition of Vietnam...Iraq.

April 16, 2008 3:09 AM
Anonymous said...
to steven mesler--

thanks for your post. and for your attempt to drag the iraq war into a vanity dog killing thirty years ago. many many many people were upset with the vietnam war but did not kill dogs on film to protest it, and then go on to make money from their art. many many many people are upset with the iraq war but have found a lot more creative ways to express their feelings without killing dogs on film.

if what you say is true, then besides being -really bad art-otterness was a few years late and also, where's his iraq version update.

are you a collector friend of his who now faces some questions from family and friends over your blood stained work? Now that more people know about it, it's not such a sexy showoff conversation piece is it? its tough when children start reading and asking questions isnt,and perhaps the "joneses' have the last laugh on you?

his stock deserves to dip, but dont worry your heirs will thank you as after otternesss passes his work should resume its upward climb.

keep up with the twisted logic and stay away from my dog.

Anonymous said...

854 good job. keep it broad keep it big, and keep it distant.
may i quote another post:

a snuff film is a snuff film--otterness is still a snuff film profiteer
(and i bet that dog stillbarks in the dead of night, so i worry not)


Only a half rung higher than a "snuff filmmaker"--who has apologized-- is the defender/friend of the snuff film.

Keep adding the grays hues to your moral rainbow and telling your self its ok its ok ots ok.

Guy shot a dog and filmed it, and called it art. he has apologized and expressed regret.

If you're so RIGHT and Morally astute why did he apologize and ask forgiveness? With yourline of reasoning no apology necessary? Right?

let me guess youstill in the weatherunderground or a failed artist turned art critic or gallery owner? nice line of work.
whatever it (to quote another post) when your gone, a dog willstillpissandcrap on your grave as well. have a real dandy of a day.

Anonymous said...

Are you certain your brother-in law didn't miss when he popped a pheasant? Perhaps he was trying to pull a Cheney-as you may be worthy--and thats why he has regret when he looks at that mounted bird, all the while listening to your slippery bull/ox crap

Anonymous said...

to mc 900 ft Digresser:

So if I cut off your foot today, and then fail trying to sew it back on (i tried!), end up sticking it in your mouth so it will do some good at least,take a nice snapshot for memories then go on and make a mint as a podiatrist you'll forgive me in 30 years?
I'll eat the pheasant anyday and you keep chewing on your thing.

Anonymous said...

To All: IMHO i think it's time to Move along from Here.

Anonymous said...

1105: lettme guess, you work for Otterness' Marlborough Gallery, and these past few days have been an unfortunate rehashing of some truths you'd rather be left in the past.
You too with some moral discomfort inside your skin?

Anonymous said...

Really 12:57, you absolutely must have something better to do than to now start going after art galleries.

I hear the soap operas have gotten better.

--concerned

bj said...

What were we talking about?

Happy LOL Day said...

Something to remember, he says the act happened in 1977, but the thing was shown in an art show in the mid eighties..! so a decade later he is still so proud of this he shows it off? How sorry is he again?

I seriously can't believe that Wichita State has nothing better to do with $450,000 plus $150,000 in "shipping" in STUDENT FEES than to pay this scum. No equipment to buy? No lower income students to help? They want to take those student's money and PAY TOM? Who the heck is running that school- one of Tom's relatives?

Anonymous said...

Let us now let sleeping and dead dogslie.

BTW, Saw the BP's coverage of event and was understandably soft with no mention of apology over shot dog piece. However, yet to see BE's coverage of unveiling...Maybe not fit for family publication?

Happy LOL Day said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/04/22/2008-04-22_parrots_blossom_into_chatty_pals.html

I think it's great that the NY Daily News mentioned this person today, scroll down to "Art Attack". It says PETA is against him now too. As they should be. I hope it's never forgotten or dropped because this is what he banks on, the other times this was brought up he still went on to make millions more and still stands to make millions combined at WSU and in Philly with Logan Square. He hopes people for get so he can go on taking public money, I hope this time is different and the only people that will pay him are the sick types that like to collect "art" from depraved people.

Happy LOL Day said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/
ny_local/brooklyn/2008/04/22/
2008-04-22_parrots_blossom_
into_chatty_pals.html

You can read the mention of it Here

Brian Carter said...

Fucking loser. Not enough pain sorrow and insanity in the world? You have to add your own brand? I honeslty wish I hadn't read about this. Whole worlds going nuts, and why apologize? Really why say shit? Maybe the "artist" (though c'mon really? really? artist my ass) can come up with a piece that demonstrates his regret? His meaning? I'd like to see the artist do a piece on what it's like to live with one self after shooting a harmless and defenseless animal that relied on him for food and shelter. NICE WORK ASSHOLE, consider yourself a contributer to the insanity.

Brian Carter said...

And furthermore, stick to little frogs and figurines. Clearly not qualified to say anything profound or beautiful.

Happy LOL Day said...

STOP Tom Otterness in Logan Square
Read this:
http://www.westpennart.com/sculpture3.html

Or click here
Here

Anonymous said...

You haven't heard anything yet. The City of San Jose has commissioned Otterness to create a set of bronze sculptures for the entrance of San Jose's Happy Hollow Park and Zoo - which is undergoing complete reconstruction beginning July 2008.

There's bound to be major backlash, given that HHP&Z is involved in animal conservation throughout the world - including the plight of the Congo Gorillas.

Although the City was responsible for commissioning this work, Happy Hollow will most likely bear the brunt of it.

SJ Mercury News:
www.mercurynews.com/scottherhold

artgardenfairy said...

That is truly twisted, put an animal killer at the head of your animal zoo, show kids how killing gets you a load of cash!! All you have to do is keep saying words and keep getting paid and keep giving nothing back, He is truly and evil person, this is not what to show kids or what to pollute a zoo with what is wrong with those people there???

artgardenfairy said...

link

http://forums.mercurynews.com/topic/herhold-sj-judges-artist-by-body-of-work-not-youthful-mistake

San Jose needs to find better spokespeople, they seem to think all of SJ is okay with this because THEY say so.

artgardenfairy said...

Hey now he is craving more NY dollars!!

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_268/undercover.html

artgardenfairy said...

Hey look a new Otterness!! You think she'll show it off in a few years and make a lame apology and then beg for government money while ripping off playskool toys for sculpture?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2591464/Drunk-teenager-throws-rabbit-against-wall-and-films-its-death.html

Anonymous said...

He apologized. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

No, no one should GET OVER MURDER for FUN

Anonymous said...

Mr. Otterness did not apologize until 20 years later when asked to do so by a newspaper. If he was truly apologetic for what he did, he would have apologized much much earlier. When he realized his professional and personal life where going to be negatively affected, he made a selfish act and apologized just to save his own murderous skin, an opportunity this precious dog who was killed by him and VIDEOTAPED AS HE WAS SHOT TO DEATH BY MR. OTTERNESS DID NOT HAVE.

Anonymous said...

The only way that this murderer is going to get the justice he deserves is to contact anyone that will be hurting from the public not viewing his art. And that includes Philly's tourism site,
www.philly.com

Please contact them, tell all your friends and family, and have them boycott anything Otterness has to do with (including the sculpture of his that was just approved for Fairmount Park in Philly) so that any place or person that shows this murderer's work will feel it financially. That's the only way anything remotely close to justice will come from this.

Anyone comparing dogs dying in a dog shelter- shelter dogs are euthanized humanely b/c it's more humane than letting them starve to death.

Mr. Otterness did not do this. He adopted a dog from a shelter. Can you imagine how happy the dog was to have a new home? How grateful he felt.
Then, Mr. Otterness shot the dog to DEATH. NOTICE-IN MR. OTTERNESS' APOLOGY, HE DOES NOT MENTION THAT THE DOG DIED, HE ONLY SAYS HE "SHOT THE DOG" THIS IS PUBLIC RELATIONS AT ITS MOST DESPICABLE.

This shell of a man gave no mercy to an innocent dog, we cannot allow this person to continue to profit financially- it starts with awareness- he is a murderer, plain and simple.

hollarback said...

I can't look at his happy smiling playful art now.

I liken what he did to adopting a small child and then raping it. What he did was inhumane in every sense.

BS he was doing protest art. BS.

He went to the pound with intent, selected an animal who went with him trustingly, he found a place to stage this, set up the camera, likely did some tests for lighting. Got a gun and bullets, stood away from the animal, shot the animal and then even THEN did not assist it, just watched and filmed it dying, in pain. And then he showed it to people. Where was the remorse at ANY POINT back then when this was fresh?

I don't believe or accept his apology and I hope he dies a slow painful death at the hands of someone/something which doesn't care, whether it is illness or violence...doesn't matter.

I don't care if he was strung out, angry, whatever - those are the actions of a sociopath. The nightstalker, the serial killer in LA used to adopt animals from the pound and kill them too. No difference.

You have no heart Tom Otterness. I cannot look at any of your work now, it's all tainted by inhumane cruelty. I have felt ill since I found this story.

How could anyone do such a thing?

SharonAzar said...

his asking for forgiveness is not enough. he needs to show he's really sorry--i'm not convinced.
maybe if he donated his entire fortune to a stray dog rescue group? i don't know, something transformational.
I've always thought his work, while seeming 'cute' had overtones of violence. He scares me.

bj said...

Latest: "The sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to build lion and cub statues for the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library." On Gothamist:
http://gothamist.com/2011/05/01/otterness_statues_to_grace_brooklyn.php

Mamie Holst said...

Notice that it's all about him, "As you must understand this is a very difficult and painful situation for me." His pain? We MUST understand HIS pain. WTF. What about what the poor dog went through. He still doesn't give a shit about what he did to that dog. He's just sorry he got caught. I always thought his "art" sucked and now I know he does too. I hope he never gets another public art project in his life, which by the way, he still has but the dog doesn't.

Sheila said...

Tom Otterness can go shoot himself.

GarynVictoria Thompson said...

Your Forgiven. Now can't we find ANY other "artist" to be commissioned to do these Pcs? Why
are the powers that be still hiring him for these million $$ exhibits. Now a Zoo? Ugggh

Anonymous said...

No. You are not forgiven. My sincerest hope is that there is a special place in hell for people like you.