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Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wichita State still plans to install piece made by artist who shot dog 30 years ago

March 25, 2007

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— Wichita State University still plans to install a sculpture by Tom Otterness on campus, despite discovering that Otterness was filmed 30 years ago shooting and killing a dog.

"I can tell you at this stage the commission is going forward," said Ted Ayres, the university's general counsel. "We are planning to install the piece in 2008."

However, Ayres said, that decision is not final.

"We want to open the door for people to express an opinion," he said. "I think it is important to have discussions and see where that goes and then make decisions."

Ayres said the university had planned to release information about the discovery when classes resumed after spring break.

The Wichita Eagle learned of the situation on Friday and reported on it in Saturday's editions.

Otterness, a Wichita native who now lives in New York, already has one sculpture on display in his hometown: "Dreamers Awake," outside the Wichita Art Museum.

The piece commissioned by Wichita State is a giant bronze millipede. The $450,000 commission was awarded last year. Another $150,000 would be needed to pay for shipping and insurance.

Otterness' studio released a statement on Friday.

"In 1977, I was a young artist having a very rough time," the statement read. "I had anger at myself and at the world. What I did was symbolic of how I was feeling internally and it is something I would never do today.

"I have struggled with my action for 30 years and continue to do so to this day. It is my hope that my friends in my hometown of Wichita will come to accept and embrace the giant millipede, which I am very proud to have join Wichita State's prestigious sculpture collection."

Matthew Goad, a candidate for the Student Government Association presidency and an opponent of using student fees to commission art, found the incident on the Wikipedia Web site.

"I came out with it and started passing it along," Goad said Friday. "I'm like, 'Hey, not only is this an unwise way to spend student fees, but look at what we're buying here.'"

The Student Government Association has pledged $150,000 to the sculpture and has already paid $50,000 of that.

Patricia McDonnell, director of Wichita State's Ulrich Museum of Art, said officials realized the information about Otterness' filmed act would have to be made public.

"We know Otterness as a public artist and a sculptor," she said. "That he was involved in this particular work of course came as a surprise.

"Immediately, we appreciated that this would not have the best public relations consequences."

Comments

Agnostick 7 years ago

Hey, if the dog was a pit bull--no harm, no foul!

Thanks ( :p )

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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Marion Lynn 7 years ago

Lemmee see here.............................................

"Artist" shoots a dog because the artist was having a bad day?

This guy should receive NOT ONE THIN DIME OF TAXPAYER MONEY FOR HIS "ART"!

I suggest flooding WSU with emails of outrage.

Someone should do a little "perforamnce art" on his a++!

Thanks.

Marion.

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bearded_gnome 7 years ago

calling it "symbolic" implies he still justifies that act. shouldn't get one cent.

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Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years ago

He can end all controversy by saying that the film of him shooting a dog was "performance art", much in the same way that artist Damien Hirst uses dead animals as his artistic medium. Once it's labeled as art, he can sell the film to Wichita State for $50,000 and will be praised among the well-heeled artsy types who "know good art when they see it."

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scenebooster 7 years ago

Geez, if you despise Lawrence so much, go right ahead and pack yer bags.

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roundaboutster 7 years ago

Shooting a dog causing you grief in Wichita? Tom you should consider Lawrence. Here if you've shot your wife in the head and killed her you will get an entire creek named after you. Additionally, if you're a homosexual, drug addict, and love to shoot guns our city commission will put your old house on the historic register. The same city commissioners will spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for a park-trail project that is named after you. Tom, we are truly progressive in Lawrence.

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