By Chris Roberts
From: NBC Bay Area
Animal lovers may not know art, but they know what they don’t like. And they’re not going to like the artist given a $750,000 contract to create public art for the Central Subway project: he’s the Brooklyn creative mind that once shot and killed a dog for one of his projects.
Tom Otterness will create 59 bronze sculptures to fill three levels of the $1.6 billion proposed subway’s Moscone station, according to the San Francisco Examiner. He’s a prominent sculptor whose work features in New York City’s public spaces, including the subway system there — but he has never lived down the 1977 incident, in which he shot and killed a dog from an animal shelter for a film project, despite repeated public apologies.
A spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency said it was unaware of the past that continues to dog — sorry, we couldn’t resist — Otterness’s reputation. The San Francisco Arts Commission, which recommended giving Otterness the project, defended the artist’s “world-renown” credentials and “strength” of his portfolio.
Otterness’s repeated apologies for the dog-shooting incident, performed when he was 25, aren’t enough for animal lovers in the Bay Area, who are outraged and want the contract kiboshed immediately.
“You do not let an animal shooter put up 59 sculptures in your subway system,” Anita Carswell, director of the Guardian Campaign for In Defense of Animals, told the newspaper. “This is a slap in the face of The City. It’s going to be offensive to everybody that rides the subway, a reminder: ‘People who shoot dogs for stupid reasons get rewarded.’”
Read more: NBC Bay Area