Dog-killing artist loses one contract
The San Francisco Arts Commission has terminated one of its two contracts with New York artist Tom Otterness after a public outcry from animal lovers enraged that the city would cut a deal with a man who, nearly 35 years ago, killed a dog and called it art.
The commission yesterday voted to void its $750,000 contract with Otterness to create and install 59 bronze sculptures at Moscone station, part of the Central Subway project.
Otterness will still receive $700,000 for his sculpture, “Mother with Children,” at the new San Francisco General Hospital.
According to the San Francisco Examiner, the city has already paid the artist $365,750 for that unfinished sculpture and would lose the money if it terminated that contract.
“I think a prudent decision … is to penalize him pretty severely for the loss of this major, major creative as well as financial opportunity, but not penalize the San Francisco Department of Health and its hospital and not cost the city an extraordinary amount of money …” said Arts Commission chairman PJ Johnston.
One commissioner said she felt both contracts should have been terminated. ”It’s not about forgiveness. I respect his license to make such a piece, but I can’t stand behind it,” said Jessica Silverman, a local artist and gallery owner. “By approving such a thing you make it OK. And it’s not OK.”
Otterness procured a dog from an animal shelter in 1977, tied it to a fence and shot it, turning the film footage into a work of “art” he called “Shot Dog Film.”
“I am disappointed they didn’t cancel both,” said Sally Stephens, chair of San Francisco’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission. “But at least we got the one.”
Stephens said the city should have terminated the hospital contract, even if it meant taking a loss.
“It’s the cost of (the Arts Commission) not doing their homework,” she said.
(Photo: “Large Sad Sphere,” a sculpture by Otterness that has been displayed in New York City parks)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, artist, arts commission, contract, dog, dog killer, dog lovers, dogs, killed, otterness, outcry, pets, san francisco, sculpture, shot dog film, terminated, tom otterness