He has been gone for 60 years.
He’s believed to be a Labrador-mastiff mix, and he’s missing his tail.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, he’s a statue — missing from Robbins Farm Park since about 1950.
According to Boston.com, Roland Chaput and fellow members of the Friends of Robbins Farm Park decided earlier this year to make at least some effort to find the dog and return it to its original home.
“Maybe it is in some guy’s backyard and he forgot all about it,” Chaput says.
Since the early 1900s, the dog — he has no name — sat atop a hill at the park.
But where he came from, like where he has gone, isn’t known.
According to a history of the park, by Oakes Plimpton, the statue belonged to the land’s previous owner, the late Nathan Robbins, a member of a well-known Arlington family that gave the town several of its public buildings, including the library.
Robbins married May Robbins in 1902, and around 1912 they moved into a house on the farm. While it’s not known where the Robbinses obtained the statue, it has been speculated that he was procured for use as a make-believe guard dog.
Chaput says the statue was probably cast iron, but could have been bronze. He says it was about four feet long, and modeled after a Labrador retriever, or a mastiff, or a mix of the two breeds.
Nathan and his wife May, by some accounts, had a major falling out in the 1920s, and went 20 years without speaking to each other, though living in the same home. A 1929 Globe article reported that May was suing her husband for financial support and claimed that, though her husband grew potatoes, he would only give her rotten ones to cook for herself.
The farm was owned by the Robbinses until 1942, when the town obtained the property for use as the purpose of using the land as a park.
Around 1950, the old farmhouse was torn down, and the statue of the dog disappeared, possibly taken by a memberof the demolition crew. Or maybe not.
Not even the dog’s sculptor is known for sure. One member said it was initially thought to have been made by famed Arlington sculptor Cyrus Dallin, but recent research suggests that wasn’t the case. Now they suspect the statue was a copy of one made by 19th century Rhode Island artist Thomas Frederick Hoppin. It was called “The Sentinel.”
The group has located similar dog statues in Houston, and is considering having a copy of one of those made if they can’t find the missing one.
Chaput said they’d even consider paying something for the statue’s safe return.
“I want it to go into the playground, where the kids can have their picture taken with it,” he said.
Anyone with information about the statue is asked to call the Friends of Robbins Farm Park at 781-646-7786.
(Photo: From the book,”Robbins Farm Park, Arlington, Massachusetts: A Local History,” by Oakes Plimpton)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 60 years, animals, arlington, art, boston, disappeared, dog, dogs, friends of robbins farm park, massachusetts, missing, pets, return, robbins farm park, sculpture, search, statue
We all know that when a dog pees on something, it’s generally not an opinion that he’s expressing.
Still, there are those who see poetic justice in Richard Jackson’s oversized sculpture, “Bad Dog,” a 24-foot black Lab who’s urinating on the side of the Orange County Museum of Art, a building many see — despite all the fine artwork inside — as artistically lacking on the outside.
The work by Jackson adorns one facade of the museum in Newport Beach, where an exhibition of his work – ”Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain” — is underway.
The oversized pup, visible from blocks away, is made of fiberglass panels. Inside, Jackson installed a vat of yellow paint that continuously shoots, via hidden hoses, a stream onto the side of the building.
The peeing dog, and Jackson’s indoors exhibit, will remain on display through May 5, 2013
According to the nearby plaque, the “guileless dog unwittingly points to the sometimes rigid institutional constraints that can frustrate artists and audiences alike.”
My Modern Met describes the project as “one of Jackson’s many ‘painting machines’ that excretes pigments in an unusually creative fashion.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ain't painting a pain, art, artists, bad dog, dog, exhibits, expressing, ichard jackson, institutional constraints, lab, labrador retriever, museums, newport beach, opinions, orange county museum of art, paint, painting machines, pee, peeing, peeing dog, peeing puppy, puppy, sculpture, stream, urinating, yellow
The first national monument paying tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in two months before going on tour on the way to its final destination – Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument will honor dogs that have served in combat since World War II.
While there are other sculpted memorials to military dogs, this one is the first to be proclaimed a national monument, according to the Associated Press.
It was a reader who suggested a monument, and Burnam saw that as an idea worth pushing.
“I wanted to give something back to these animals that have done so much and asked for so little, except for food and water and the love of their handlers,” said Burnam, who received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
In 2004, Burnam and two other veterans formed the John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc. In 2007, Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., introduced legislation authorizing establishment of the monument. Passed unanimously by Congress, it was signed the next year by President George W. Bush, then amended and signed by President Barack Obama.
Burnam designed the monument, which depicts a handler and four dogs — a Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois.
The silicon bronze handler stands more than 9 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds. Each dog is about 5 feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. The sculptor, Paula Slater, says she has spent thousands of hours on the project.
Primary funding for the project is being supplied by Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc. To raise funds for the monument and its maintenance, Natural Balance created a jerky treat sold by Petco. Maddie’s Fund, a pet rescue foundation, also signed on as a corporate sponsor.
A floral replica of the sculpture, in the form of a float, will be part of the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, and among those riding on it will be Burnam, dogs and handlers from every military service branch.
The monument will then go on temporary display next to the float at Victory Park. After that, it will hit the road, headed for Lackland Air Force Base, where most of the nation’s military dogs are trained.
(Photos: At top, a model of the U.S. Working Dogs Teams National Monument, courtesy of John Burnam Monument Foundation; above left, handler John Burnam and sculptor Paula Slater stand with the military dog handler that will be part of the monument, courtesy of Natural Balance)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, doberman, dogs, german shepherd, handlers, john burnam, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois. paula slater, lackland, lackland air force base, military, monument, national, national monument, natural balance, pets, sculpture, statue, teams, tribute, war
The National Fire Dog Monument, a memorial to accelerant-detecting dogs, is scheduled to arrive today in Washington.
Over the weekend, the sculpture stopped in Bloomington, about halfway through a 12-city, 2,000-mile tour that began in Denver, where it was created. The tour is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and the American Humane Association.
“From Ashes to Answers” is a sculpture of a firefighter looking down at his Labrador retriever. Its destination, and forever home, will be Fire Station No. 3 in Washington.
You can learn more about the monument, which acknowledges the work of accelerant-detecting dogs used in arson investigations, at the monument’s website.
The life-sized, 450-pound statue was conceived by Jerry Means, an arson investigator from Colorado, and sculpted by Denver-area firefighter Austin Weishel.
“The work that the dogs do really inspired me to create something where they can be recognized and so, four years ago, we started raising money,” Means told The Pantagraph. “We raised over $100,000 and are bringing recognition to these dogs who are so important in finding out who or what is responsible for fires.”
Weishel, a 22-year-old, self-taught sculptor, spent more than 1,500 hours completing the project.
“It’s something I enjoy doing and being a firefighter myself, I made sure I took the time and effort to get every detail exactly right,” he said.
Photo: Sculptor Austin Weishel of Colorado and Bruce Abbott, a member of the Bloomington Township Fire Department, next to the sculpture; by Lori Ann Cook-Neisler / The Pantagraph)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accelerant, animals, arson, austin weishel, bloomington, detecting, detection, dogs, fire, insurance, investigations, jerry means, memorial, national fire dog monument, pets, sculptor, sculpture, state farm, tour, washington
It’s not one of Seattle’s most beloved works of outdoor art, but Gyro Jack has been a fixture at Belltown’s Denny Regrade Park for more than 30 years.
When part of the park, including the cement sculpture, was designated as an off-leash area for dogs, Gyro Jack became, in addition to all else he symbolizes — and don’t ask us what that is — a dog toy as well.
Some say it’s one that’s hazardous to their health.
In April, a six-month-old collie named Bailey broke one rear leg and injured the other after taking a dive off the top of the sculpture, KIRO reported last month.
Dog owner Jesse Wise said he walked to the top of the sculpture with Bailey. When he turned around to go back down, the dog either jumped or fell onto the pavement around the statue. Wise says the area with the sculpture should be made safer for dogs, possibly by laying mulch around it.
Apparently unconnected to that, the city Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily closed the park for improvements. In a press release, the department said plans include removing old surfacing and improving drainage.
The Belltown Local reports that the city plans to remove the wood chip mulch that serves as a ground cover around much of the dog park and replace it with pea gravel.
Whether the area at the base of the sculpture will be cushioned is not mentioned in the plans.
The off-leash area closed May 7, and will reopen Monday, May 28.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, belltown, collie, denny regrade park, dog parks, dogs, gyro jack, outdoor, parks, pets, public, sculpture, seattle
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
San Francisco is considering terminating its $1.4 million in art contracts with Brooklyn sculptor Tom Otterness, who once shot and killed a dog on film and called it art.
San Francisco’s Arts Commission, which is in charge of publicly funded art projects, will hold a meeting today to vote on whether to rescind the contracts, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The commission awarded Otterness earlier this year with a $750,000 contract for 59 bronze sculptures in the Moscone station of the proposed Central Subway project. That was in addition to a $700,000 contract he received last year for a sculpture at San Francisco General Hospital.
The commission said it was unaware of the incident in his past when they approved the contracts, the second of which was signed in September.
Apparently they missed out on the hubbub on the east coast when, in May, Otterness was awarded $750,000 to sculpt a set of lions to sit outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.
Otterness, when he was 25, shot and killed a small black and white dog he adopted from a shelter for an art project — basically a repeated loop of film showing the execution. He called it ”Shot Dog Film.”
The incident has repeatedly surfaced during the career of Otterness, who is famous for his whimsical sculptures of people and animals, and it did again after he received the second San Francisco contract. After media reports and amid public complaints, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee placed a hold on both contracts, pending review.
Arts Commission Chairman PJ Johnston said that review is completed, and discussions have been held, but he declined to discuss them and said he was unsure how he would vote. He said he was concerned with the commission “getting into the position of judging the artist rather than the art.”
If I may boldy opine: I don’t understand that statement, or piece of one, but I’m not a real artist. I see nothing wrong with judging both the artist and the art, or, for that matter, the actor and his acting, the football player and the football play, the author and the book, or the arts commissioner and the art he commissions. Doing something well should not relieve one of the responsibility of being a decent human being, or following the rules everyone else lives by.
End of bold opining.
It’s unclear whether the city, if it terminates the contract, will be able to redeem the $365,750 in payments it has already made to Otterness, the Examiner reported.
The San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare Commission, called for the termination of the contracts in an Oct. 14 letter sent to the mayor and the Arts Commission.
“The city of St. Francis cannot display, with public funding, art from someone who has committed such an unconscionable act of animal cruelty,” the letter said.
St. Francis, after whom the city is named, is the patron saint of animals.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, artist, arts commission, central subway, commissions, complaints, contracts, dog, dogs, ed lee, filmed, funding, haunted, judging, killed, mayor, moscone station, new york public library, past, pets, public art, san francisco, san francisco general hospital, sculptor, sculpture, shot, shot dog film, st. francis, termination, tom otterness
Back in 1977, when he was 25, artist Tom Otterness produced “Shot Dog Film,” in which he chained and killed a small dog he adopted from a shelter for that purpose. The dog’s slow death is shown repeatedly in the movie.
Now the Brooklyn-based sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to sculpt whimsical bronze lions and cubs as a gift to be installed outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.
Downtown’s Community Board 1, in a 23-7 vote last week, “wholeheartedly” gave the project its blessing, according to the New York Post, despite outrage from animal lovers.
In 2008, the sculptor apologized for killing a dog for his “avante garde” movie:
“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.”
Not everyone has.
“Otterness’ new work won’t be one that PETA members will be rushing to see,” Colleen O’Brien, a PETA spokeswoman, told New York’s Metro. “Any man who would adopt a dog and then film himself shooting the animal needs a good psychiatrist — not another art show.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anonymous, art, battery park, branch, bronze, commission, dog, dogs, film, killer, killing, library, lions, new york, peta, pets, sculptor, sculpture, shot dog film, snuff
Ace will clamber right up on a picnic table. He’ll settle on a park bench just like a human. And when it comes to public sculpture, he will – with the slightest encouragement and if there is room — climb aboard as well.
So with no disrespect to the artists intended — actually quite the opposite — here are some photos of Ace, who is feeling much better, thank you, posing on and in public sculpture in Seattle.
Being, in my view, a work of art himself, Ace only adds to the artists’ works, breathes new life into them, and, hey, they are public. If they were fenced off, of course, we wouldn’t trespass upon them, I’m pretty sure.
Above and to the left is “Changing Form,” by Doris Chase, located in Kerry Park in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood .
I’d like to think that Doris, who died two years ago, would have no problem with Ace climbing into her 15 foot tall steel sculpture — that she and other creators of outdoor art would actually want people to touch and climb on and fully experience (except for peeing, which Ace didn’t) their works.
The sculpture consists of stacked geometric shapes with cutouts opening to views of downtown Seattle. (The view of the skyline from Kerry Park is a famous one, and also served as the view from Frazier’s condominium on the television show.)
Chase, a Seattle artist who later became known for her pioneering work in video art, finished the sculpture in 1971. The piece was commissioned by the daughters of A. Kerry, the benefactor who gave the city Kerry Park.
This donut-looking work is “Black Sun,” by Isamu Noguchi, a prominent Japanese-American artist who died in 1988.
It’s located in Seattle’s Volunteer Park, where tourists frequently photograph it with the Space Needle showing through the hole.
We managed to capture the Space Needle and Ace, who, though he would have preferred a real giant donut, still eagerly approached and jumped up on the sculpture.
I suspect that doggy types will have no problem with Ace climbing up on treasured works of art, and that artsy types might view it as rude, and that doggy-artsy types will have mixed feelings.
There was one statue Ace didn’t have a chance to climb aboard. The artist beat me to the punch. It already sported a canine – a coyote, to be precise.
This statue of a coyote standing atop a cow used to be in Pioneer Square in Seattle. It now calls a sidewalk in Kirkland home.
It was the first statue cast by artist Brad Rude — a Montana born artist who grew up in Walla Walla and attended Maryland Institute College of Art.
He sculpted the life-sized cow and coyote in plaster while working at a foundry. When he asked the foundry owner for a raise, the owner volunteered to cast the cow and coyote in bronze.
Some people find the concept odd — a cow with a coyote standing on his back.
But it makes perfect sense to me.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, black sun, brad rude, changing form, cow, coyote, dog, dogs, donut, doris chase, downtown, isamu noguchi, kerry park, kirkland, outdoor art, pets, public art, sculpture, seattle, sightseeing, skyline, statues, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, view, volunteer park, washington
Gory Bateson and Dougie Mac chose what they call “the famous dog poop sculpture in Beverly Hills” to record this “public service announcement” — a musical reminder to pick up your dog’s poop.
The sculpture isn’t really of dog poop (though there is some resemblance), it’s just modern art.
Similarly, “Gory Bateson” isn’t really Gory Bateson – he’s a modern-day artistic creation, as well.
Gateson is the internet persona of Nick Trujillo, a California State University, Sacramento, communications professor who, a la Spinal Tap, established an alter ego as the burned out former lead singer of the mythic band The Ethnogs.
It’s all aimed at exploring how viral media works — how popular sensations emerge within the new media landscape. Trujillo has posted more than 70 videos on YouTube under the guise of Gory in hopes of seeing the character go viral.
Gory said he was inspired after he happened by the silver sculpture ( “Erratic,” by artist Roxy Paine, on Santa Monica Boulevard, across from Beverly Hills City Hall). “It looked like dog poop to me. I had dogs for 25 years so I tend to see the world in dog terms.”
Gory points out that he was not paid by Beverly Hills to make the announcement, but undertook it on his own, with his fellow Ethnog, ”Dougie Mac” (who’s really Dr. Bob Krizek, a professor of communication at St. Louis University.)
The song may be a fake public service announcement, performed by a made-up characters, in front of a sculpture that’s open to interpretation, but its message, Gory says, is real:
Pick up that poop.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 30th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, art, band, beverly hills, bob krizek, communications, dog, dog poop, dog waste, dogs, dougie mac, erratic, ethnogs, excrement, feces, gory bateson, internet, media, news, nick trujillo, ohmidog!, pets, pick up poop song, poop, poop song, professor, public service announcement, sculpture, singer, spinal tap, viral, viral media, waste, youtube