otternessLS.jpgAs previously reported, not one but two San Francisco art projects were paused once SF’s Arts Commission became aware of the artist’s dark past. And now SF’s Animal Commission is mulling a recommendation to move not just pause the contract, but to end it completely.

Plans for the installation of 59 sculptures at the eventual Central Subway station in SF were been put on hold when it was “discovered” by officials that Tom Otterness, the sculptor contracted for the project, adopted a shelter dog and shot it for an “art film” in 1977.

Though Otterness has expressed remorse and released numerous public apologies, the incident continues to haunt him. Once officials were made aware of Otterness’ past by an article in the Ex they put the $750,000 Central Subway deal “on hold,” as was another, $700,000 contract for a set of sculptures to decorate San Francisco General Hospital.

Despite his apologies, the Ex reports, SF’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission has made clear that Otterness is unforgiven, and will be voting this Thursday on sending a letter to the Mayor, the Arts Commission, and the Board of Supervisors asking them to rescind the two contracts awarded to Otterness.

From the meeting’s agenda:

Discussion and possible action to send a letter to the SF Arts Commission, the Mayor, and the Board of Supervisors asking them to rescind two contracts with artist Tom Otterness for sculptures at SF General Hospital ($700,000) and the Central Subway project ($750,000). Thirty years ago, when he was 25, Otterness adopted a dog from a shelter, chained it to a fence and shot it on film, calling it “art.” San Francisco should not have on public display art made by someone who committed such an unforgivable act of premeditated animal cruelty. The letter will also urge the Arts Commission to ensure future recipients of public art funding have not participated in acts of animal cruelty.

Both contracts have been frozen since September 17, and the Arts Commission has yet decide on what to do with both frozen contracts, telling the Ex that “the matter will be addressed at a future commission meeting.”

What to through your support behind or against this letter? Thursday’s Animal Commission meeting is open to the public, and will meet at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall in Room 408.

Photo of Boy & Dog by Tom Otterness: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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