Dog-Killing Artist Denied Prestigious NYC Exhibition Venue

 |  Jul 12th 2011  |   4 Contributions


In a move sure to please Dogsters who love artand hate animal cruelty,New York'sBattery Park City Authority hasrejected the anonymous donation of a set of lion sculptures by Tom Otterness, the Brooklyn artist infamous for having once adopted a shelter mutt, then shooting and killingthedogin the name of "art" (read about that here).

For the prestigious public exhibition space outside the New York Public Library, Otterness had promised a group of eight lion sculptures: two five-foot bronze lions and five small cubs to go in front of the library on North End Avenue; asixth cub would have been installed inside the building. The lot is valued at $750,000. (The image above is a rendering of how they would look installed.)

TheAuthority says it is rejecting the offer because the donor is anonymous and because the proposal did not follow procedures for vetting artwork and allowing public competition.

Community Board 1 had previously voted its support of the installation, and on Tuesday its Battery Park City Committee voted to request more information from the Authority about the proper process for commissioning a new site-specific piece of art. But, according to the Tribeca Tribune,it appears unlikely that Otterness lion and cubs will make it to the library.

Otterness, whose sculpture Penny Parkis on display at the north end of Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, had been approached by a CB1 task force about creating a lion sculpture for the Battery Park City Library several years ago.

But the idea came under fire with some community board members and residents afterOtterness formally proposed the sculptures this spring. They protested the installation because of the unspeakable snuff film he made back in the 1970s.

I think its indefensible, Otterness had told the Battery Park City Committee in April. All I can do is apologize for it and express my regret. And I think my work over the last 30 years has done something to counterbalance that.

Many Dogsters disagree with Otterness. How does one "counterbalance" the crime of killing a dog and filming it as an art stunt?!

Several animal lovers brought dogs to the full Community Board meeting in April, where the board voted 28-7 in favor of the sculpture proposal. However, the Authority still needed to approve the artwork.

The process of bringing the Otterness sculptures to the library was handled badly from the beginning, committee chair Linda Belfer said, adding that the Battery Park City Authority and the New York Public Library were not properly involved until it was too late.

Thats the issue here, Belfer said. Not the fact that it was Otterness, and not the fact that he killed a dog. Thats a separate issue. Were talking about city property, were talking about state landthere were a lot of things here that needed to be done that werent done.

Regardless of the whys and hows, it's one less prestigious exhibition venue for a man who once cruelly killed a dog. And that's a victory for Dogsters everywhere.

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