Tom Otterness, Sculptor Who Killed Dog, Wins Art Contract for Central Subway Project

220px-Tom-otterness.JPG
Not necessarily a cat person
Is art still subjective if it involves killing a dog?

The Examiner gives us a not-so-uplifting story today about a Brooklyn sculptor who once shot and killed a dog for art's sake. While Tom Otterness is a well-known artist in the streets of New York, this slight fact seemed to slide past San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency Board, which signed off on his $750,000 contract for 59 bronze statues at the new station.

According to the Ex, the MTA was unware Otterness had killed a dog; the group relied on the Art Commission's recommendation.

"The Central Subway Artist Selection Panel chose Otterness based on the strength of his proposal and his impressive portfolio of past sculptural work," Susan Pontious, director of the San Francisco Arts Commission's public art program is quoted saying.

But part of his portfolio includes his 1977 movie, Shot Dog Film,  in which Otterness adopted a pup from a local shelter then tied it to his fence and shot it. He recorded the shooting on video, which was looped continuously and shown at his exhibit. Animal activists are still outraged, especially because he was never charged with animal cruelty. Otterness continues to apologize for that art exhibit, and in 2008 said:

"It was indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for ... I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me."

However, in a city where people prefer dogs to kids, not everyone is so forgiving. As Sally Stephens, chair of Animal Control and Welfare Commission points out, Otterness' controversial will probably haunt him in San Francisco. 

"It's not a great fit for San Francisco," she said.

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MarCH
MarCH

Disgusting. Heartbreaking. Sick. Sick. Sick.  Get this freak and his "art" out of our City.  No excuses for anyone and at any stage in his/her life who could do this to a helpless dog who happily thought it had been "saved" from the shelter.

Frank Lostaunau
Frank Lostaunau

I strongly recommend that the artist volunter both of his eyes for medical research asap.

I volunteer my services to remove his eyes.

Tsukismom
Tsukismom

After he spends some time in prison like Michael Vick did, maybe he should be given some consideration, but not in SF.

Chris
Chris

I think what he did was horrible.  I love animals, especially dogs.  I would certainly not want to socialize with Mr. Otterness.  That said, seems to be truly contrite for what he did, and he has not repeated any further offenses against animals.  That doesn't mean I forgive him.

However, he has made some great public art in other cities, and I think the sculptures will be a nice addition for San Francisco.We are all told that we are supposed to forgive Michael Vick, who killed several dogs in the most brutal fashion for sheer amusement.  In my opinion, he has never fully owned up to what he did (and yes, I know he threw a few million toward animal charities and went to prison, etc).  So, I guess we  are supposed to forgive Mr. Otterness's past offenses, too.  I don't.  But, that doesn't mean I object to his art being displayed in San Francisco.  I still don't like what he did.  But, I do like his art, and I think it is possible to separate the admiration for his creations from what I personally think of him as an individual. 

Rilaford
Rilaford

So we should also like and support Roman Polanski based on your logic as well.  He makes good movies so we should forget that he raped a 13 year old girl?  Sometimes one's past should "haunt" them.  When one consciously murders another animal for pleasure and art, it's not something that should be forgotten.

Derbybet28
Derbybet28

Vulgar, and completely unforgivable.  The nightmare will haunt me for a long time.

bigriggs
bigriggs

What a waste of money on this stupid piece of shit.

yeaisaidit
yeaisaidit

it happened in 1977m thats 34 years ago...not that i agree with him but it was back in the 70's where people treated animals like...well...animals. They werent babied and humanized like they are now. Give the man a break, he made a mistake and he apologized for it. How about we hold u all accountable for all of your mistakes u made in the past when u were a dumb teenager/young adult?

teh_z
teh_z

By age 5 I knew doing something like this was wrong. He was 25. I'm sorry, but it's unforgivable. He's a sick person. Killing an animal for food (hunting) is one thing, but adopting one in order to kill it, film it and call it "art" takes it to sociopath levels. I hope all his public art worldwide becomes vandalized.

GoBears
GoBears

Horrific.  I understand it was a long time ago, but if he were truly sorry, he'd remove the item from his portfolio.  Any publicity is free publicity, I guess. 

Alec Sevins
Alec Sevins

There should be the same level of outrage for all the snuff footage on YouTube disguised as "hunting." Search for a wide number of species and you'll see them getting shot on camera, often dying slowly. If you don't come away angry at the pointlessness of it, you probably have no soul.

Mr. Otterness is only different in that the animal was domestic in his case. His "art" excuse is as weak as the "culling" excuses from "sportsmen" who primarily kill for enjoyment.

Nice
Nice

You're are a very ignorant person.

Anyone who looks at hunting (or I would assume hunts) and doesn't become angry,  has no soul?

Wow, unflappable logic you got there.

I happen to hunt for all the meat my family eats. 

Do you kill your plants and animals or do you have someone kill them for you?

MarCH
MarCH

The difference is that many hunters are doing it for the thrill of the kill.  You, as you state,  are hunting for your family's food. 

Mr. Slevin specifically referred to the hunters who "KILL FOR ENJOYMENT".  Hence, your snide "unflappable logic" comment is off base.  Calling him "very ignorant" was unwarranted. 

You read it wrong.

Robin Kluger Vigfusson
Robin Kluger Vigfusson

There is a petition trying to stop this: Please google Stop Dog-killer from Creating Public Art in San Francisco

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