The art world has masticated in contemplation over sculptor Tom Otterness just as the dog he assassinated in the name of artistic expression over 20 years ago might have chomped on a tasty bone. The chance to jump on the Otterness Hate Wagon has come (literally) to DUMBO where the artist’s piece Large Covered Wagon is now on display. (If you get off at the 14th Street stop of the A,C,E you’ve already had a chance to fall in love/hate with his whimsical statues.)
As for the dog incident (for which the artist has apologized many times over the last two decades), NYC journalism legend Gary Indiana put it best in New York Magazine writing about the opening of the East Village USA exhibit:
But I’m repulsed by this show’s inclusion of Tom Otterness, a sculptor of limitless nonentity despite his demonstrated skill at conning public-art commissions and taste-impaired collectors into making him rich. Mr. Otterness, once upon a time, adopted a dog and then shot it to death for the fun of recording his infantile, sadistic depravity on film. I’d like the New Museum’s visitors to keep that in mind while looking at this creep’s work. Mr. Otterness isn’t one of those special exceptions deserving the adage “Lousy person, terrific artist.” Lousy both.
For an overview of Otterness’ work, the NY Times has a video profile and James Skalm provides this walk through on YouTube: