Life and Death

About Tom Otterness

Since the 1970s, Tom Otterness has been populating public spaces with his impish human and animal sculptures, through which he gently lampoons American society. Disarmingly cute and cartoonish, and underpinned by art history, popular culture, and a democratic vision, his characters mock societal groups. “The artwork itself has five character types: blue collar workers, white collar workers, cops, […] radicals, […] and […] rich people,” he says. “And I take those five classes and […] make scenarios out of them.” Otterness uses the “lost wax” process to cast his bronze figures, which range from monumental to palm-sized. He explores class, money, race, and sex in his works, putting these fraught topics into the public sphere to spark conversation.

American, b. 1952, Wichita, Kansas, based in New York, New York