As reported yesterday, SF’s Arts Commission is set to finally vote today on whether or not they want to cut their losses with Brooklyn artist Tom Otterness and revoke the two contracts they awarded him. But this week, an unlikely advocate for Otterness has stepped forward — the director of SF’s Animal Care and Control.
Otterness received a $750,000 contract to install 59 sculptures in the proposed Central Subway station and a $700,000 contract ($365,750 of that has been paid to the artist already) for a set of sculptures to decorate San Francisco General Hospital.
That was before San Francisco’s Arts Commission discovered Otterness shot and killed a dog on film and called it art in 1977, revealed to them by an article in the Ex. Outcry from both city officials and the community followed, and the projects were “paused,” as the Arts Commission mulled their next move.
Though San Francisco’s Animal Commission sent a letter to the Arts Commission urging them to sever their relationship with Otterness, the Ex and Chron now report that the artist is in talks with the city’s Animal Care and Control Department director Rebecca Katz.
In a letter to the Arts Commission, Katz says that “I understand that Mr. Otterness is genuinely interested in having further discussions with our department and other community stakeholders regarding the types of projects that might provide ongoing attention to the importance of humane treatment of animals, to the impact of violence against animals on the community, and to serve as a memorial to all animals that have suffered from abuse.”
The Arts Commission, which is also set to vote on a new director today, was Tuesday the subject of a scathing audit which said, reports the Chron, that the Commission “failed to properly track spending and had a fearful workplace.”
Today’s Arts Commission Meeting is open to the public, and will be held at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall, Room 416. The agenda for the meeting is here.