For the past several decades, Tom Otterness has been one of America’s most recognized sculptors, creating playful and yet socially conscious works for parks, plazas, museums, and other civic spaces. A Wichita, Kansas native, Mr. Otterness found his professional footing in New York City in the early 1970s. He attended the independent The Art Students League of New York and took part in the Independent Study Program offered by the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1977, Tom Otterness joined the artist’s group Collaborative Projects, Inc., which had a strong connection with New York City’s burgeoning street art scene. He was notably involved in organizing a seminal 1980 exhibit called “The Times Square Show” that featured the works of about 50 emerging artists in a multimedia setting, including Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, and Charles and John Ahearn. Mr. Otterness’ visibility as a sculptor increased in the mid-1980s, with his works featured in the Brooklyn Museum’s Working in Brooklyn exhibition, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s “Spectrum: The Generic Figure” exhibition. He also gained international recognition, participating in the “New Trends in Contemporary Sculpture, 10 New Outstanding Sculptors of America and Japan” exhibition held in Tokyo’s Sapporo Art Park.
In 1986, Tom Otterness earned his first major public sculpture commission from the Battery Park City Authority in New York. He completed the installation in 1992, which features a number of animal and human figures inhabiting a public northern end of the park. Since the early 1990s, Mr. Otterness has finished a dozen public works in New York and more than 20 public installations in cities across America. A recent project that he has completed is ”Another World”, in the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo of San Jose, California. The installation features a number of cast bronze animals arranged at the zoo entrance, including a feline, a snake, a parrot, a mother pig with piglets, a turtle, and an capybara wearing high heels and pearls. Tom Otterness has taken numerous pictures of his public works, which are featured at the website tomotterness.net.