Man Who Killed Dog as Art Sparks New NYC Storm

Tom Otterness, who shot dog for film, now in $750K public art deal

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted May 4, 2011 2:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – An artist who shot dead a dog for an "art film" has been commissioned to create new sculptures that could end up at a Manhattan public library branch—and New Yorkers are rabid about it. Brooklyn sculptor Tom Otterness adopted a small black-and-white dog from a Brooklyn shelter in 1977, chained it to a fence and shot it while it was being filmed. The pup's slow death was shown repeatedly as part of Otterness's subsequent "Shot Dog Film" exhibit. The artist, known for his bulbous-headed animal and people sculptures, has been paid $750,000 for lion sculptures by an anonymous donor who now wants to donate them to the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.

Though the local community board has approved the plan, furious dog lovers are collecting signatures on a petition to block the work, calling it "unconscionable," notes Art Info. If the work does proceed, the sculptures should be "dedicated to the dog he murdered," and all money should be used caring for homeless animals, the petition states. Otterness apologized three years ago for his dog snuff film. "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," he said at the time. "I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

A tourist kisses the nose of a 9-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a mouse by Tom Otterness after it was unveiled in Times Square earlier this year.   (Getty Images)
Dod-killer sculptor Tom Otterness meets with the local community board about the work he plans to create for a branch of the New York Public Library for a $750,000 commission.   (BroadsheetONLINE)
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