What a wonderful review. I'm thrilled to have been a part of this wonderful book. Both Danny and Bill were my dear friends. Thank you Rebecca for these wonder ful words for my friends. Bill has created an amazing tribute in this book. And bringing Dans work back to life is a dream we've all been waiting for. Thank you thank you
I have the pleasure of having Bill in my life and so greatful to know this wonderful man! I have read the book and laughed and cried! He is a great man and the artist Danny Allan was a great talented artist who would never have been acknowledged without Bill!
I have read Bill Whiting's book "An Early Work Late In Life", and it did indeed scorch my heart and move my soul. Ms. Rafferty's review and interpretations about the book are spot-on. I had the opportunity to participate as a friend in Mr. Whiting's final approach to his publication and the concurrent debut at MAG's art opening in March of this year. It was a stunning constellation of fears, hopes and bewilderment at the power and responsibilities inherent in book publishing amid personal angst. But Bill has emerged unscathed and the stronger for his experience. It boggles the mind that, a short twelve months ago, this endeavor was not even on his radar screen. And I would bet my signed first edition that in April 2012, "Sunny Ducks" by Danny Allen was still deep in its Rumpelstiltskin slumber, safe in the archival tissue Bill had wrapped it in forty years ago, so dark the vault.
Michael: Nope, she really means art competition. Believe it or not, the modern Olympics indeed had artistic components for a few decades, and the winners were awarded medals, just like the athletes:
I 'd like to applaud the author of "It Came From the Vault" for her opinion that art was part of the '32 Olympics, but unfortunately the last sentence of the article should read "...back when the Olympic Games included a TENNIS [not ART] competition.
An Art and Tennis Enthusiast
Thank you for featuring Gil Merritt, we have enjoyed his playful and creative mind for many years and its good to finally see the rest of the Universe taking notice too. -jones
With reciprocal respect Mr. Fireball Junior I do believe there are thousands who do care but for a variety of reasons missed the widespread media exposure. Regretfully and to my embarrassment I was one of them. I do realize that any attempt to get Tom Otterness’s sculptures removed is very much a long shot and is probably not going to happen. But some things in life are worth the effort to me this is one of them. McDonald’s, unlike our Rochester Memorial Art Gallery is not a non-profit educational institution that depends on public funding. Are you really proud to have this artist associated with our city? http://www.underdogs4justice.com/In-His-Ow…
With all due respect to Ms. Allinger, there are a number of Otterness public artworks on display throughout New York City (http://www.tomostudio.com/exhibitions_publ…). And most of the Rochester community is unaware of his dog-killing film? Of course, "most" is -- but, I dare say, thousands and thousands and more thousands of people are aware. A good portion of the community also probably isn't aware who the governor or vice president are, either.Otterness' sordid past certainly has received widespread media exposure, if people aren't aware, they're either not paying attention or don't care. And do you really think the sculptures are going to be removed? I'd like the McDonald's on East Ave to be removed, too, but, Ms. Allinger, that's not happening either.
We are deeply disappointed that MAG decided to proceed with the installation of Otterness sculptures after they became aware of the horrific film he made and in spite of protest from the Rochester community. Both NYC and San Francisco refused to display Otterness sculpture, so why did Rochester not follow their lead?
“Despite protests and petitions drawn up in opposition to the Otterness commission, Holcomb says that the gallery lost no more than two dozen members. In fact, it actually gained new members who wanted to show their support, and had 25,000 more people attend gallery events in the past year than the year before, according to Holcomb.”
Mr. Holcomb needs to consider that the majority of their members and most of the Rochester community are still unaware of the film Otterness made. We at Craft Company No.6 are committed to spreading the word and encouraging people to sign the petition to have the sculptures by Otterness removed. We do understand that “The Memorial Art Gallery has every right to select this work for their collection based on the value of the artist as an artist and not the ethics of the artist as a person.” But why select this artist when they had the option to choose someone who was not so offensive to so many? Is this work so superior? I doubt there are many who think it is.
For us this is not about “forgiveness” or “giving a second chance”. It is about MAG’s disregard for the level of disgust and upset these sculptures cause to a very large segment of the Rochester community. They are on the corner of a very busy intersection in our Neighborhood of the Arts and a reminder of an award given to a very sick individual who committed an act of horrific animal cruelty. They are a slap in the face to those who love animals and value human compassion.
We hope you will join us in signing the petition to have these sculptures removed.
Lynn Allinger and Gary Stam, owners Craft Company No.6
I drive past MAG nearly every day. It has been a pleasure seeing Otterness's work installed and even seeing the sculptor putting finishing touches on his sculpture of a sculptor. It is a joyful work.
Given his artistic track record, I wonder if in a few years Otterness will also be apologizing for his MAG sculptures?
Simplification is needed here, once and for all. One must really examine how artist's applications for commissions "objectively" arrive and become "objectively" considered before art boards to begin with and ask this: If someone, in the name of "art", shot the dog (or family pet) of, say, the MAG director or one of the MAG staff or curators, let the animal slowly bleed to death while filming it, then looped the slow and painful death in an art show and then applied to the MAG to do an expensive commission, would this individual get a commission from that museum for anything? That is, would the application be seriously considered at all? Alas, methinks not. After all, a defenseless shelter dog is not the beloved family member of a staff member. And besides, the public would never know that such a "brilliant" artist was ever turned away, as the paperwork, let's face it, would never see the light of day. Humans pretty much operate this way, beyond all the tired academic excuses given in this piece. What we all need to face when it comes to animal rights (and environmental rights) is the relationship between human arrogance and what we "own" being better and mattering so much more than what we do not, including wildlife and the "unknown" animals we raise to "eat" in blind, cruelty- based ignorance. Ironically, we are at a point in our environmental survival that we need to get this, more than ever. One looks to our institutions of hire learning and art to lead the way. And it is always beyond disappointing, given our current dire state of affairs, when the connection is not only not made, but disregarded completely.
ClaudeGlasses - Excellent piece !
Instead of a docent I at first thought of suggesting that you use MAG director Grant Holcomb . Then I realized that, a) Holcomb hasn't the decency to discuss his decision publicly , and b) his reported "explanations" to date as to why he (and his stooges on the board) selected Otterness despite knowing his background have been far too convoluted and incomprehensible for the kiddies (or adults for that matter) to follow.
I've always wondered if Otterness owes his success in conning, I mean persuading Holcomb & Co. to commission his work by making a killer presentation? I know it couldn't have been a "dog and pony " show because he'd already shot the dog.
I can imagine the docents now: "And now children, if you'll look here, these sculptures of dogs are done by Tom Otterness. Both New York City and San Francisco rejected his works. We are very fortunate to have his art here." "Why were they rejected?" "Well, when he was young, he shot a dog to death with a gun and filmed it and called it art." "That's gross! How young was he?" says a 10 year old. "He was 25 years old." "That's not young!" Kids start crying. "Why'd he do it?" "He was protesting the violence of war." "He shot and killed a dog to protest violence and war?" "Yes, that's right. Now over here we have another sculpture by..." "So, senseless violence and killing is okay?" "No, senseless violence and killing is not okay. But this act of killing a dog wasn't senseless. It was done for art." "I've decided I don't like art, then." "Shut up, kid. You're taking this too seriously. You don't understand art." "You don't understand dogs, or kids," "Security!" "Why don't you just shoot us, you know, for art's sake."
Chain DeLoye ...The issue of morality and forgiveness needs to be put into context in this situation.
If a police officer abused and harassed an innocent individual we might forgive him but we'd say he'd disgraced his badge and demand his ouster from the force. And we wouldn't expect any other police force to hire him.
If a bank teller dipped into the till we might forgive him but we 'd say he should be arrested for abusing his position and we'd agree that no other bank should hire him.
If a high school teacher became overly intimate with a student we might forgive him but we'd argue that he'd violated a public trust. We'd want him fired and would not want any other school to ever hire him.
If the local animal control officer was getting his jollies by killing stray pets we'd scream bloody murder. We might forgive him but we;d certainly claim that he's abused his position and that he be fired and never again employed in a position interacting with animals.
But for some reason it's different with artists.
Here we have an artist who films his execution of Fido and openly proclaims his deed to be a Work of Art. Again we might forgive him. But since art is personal, subjective, without standards and apparently amoral, we can not contend that the act has destroyed his legitimacy as an artist and that patrons should shun him . We are expected to act as if nothing happened and applaud his future endeavors or risk being labeled as Philistines.
Gaylon Arnold - It all humility, it isn't difficult to be morally superior to a man (not a kid, but a 25 year old man) who had no compunction about torturing a dog, filming its death agonies and then presenting the results to the world as a "work of art". By all means feel free to forgive Otterness for his actions. I'll wait until I see what the dog does.
As to judging Otterness' sculptures at the MAG, I agree that their artistic quality is personal and totally subjective. For all I know they may be works of art equal to his masterpiece, the "Shot Dog Film".
It would be interesting to discuss the relationship between art and morality with Grant Holcomb (who was apparently thrilled enough by Otterness' work to overlook his past indiscretions and award him a commission) but Mr. Holcomb has opted to hunker in his bunker and refuses to discuss his views and actions in a public forum .
"...he puts some untraditional twists on the basic male-female symbols, with bronzes of same-sex pairs engaged in a tender kiss ("It seemed good not to have it so heterocentric," Otterness says)"
AWW YEEE WOOT WOOT!!! Way to go Otterness!!!
"Davis sees the protests as "almost a class issue,"... " Did the reporter ask which "class"? I don't even like thinking about what Davis' statement implies.
She goes on to say, " "in general, I don't feel people should be held to one act of cruelty or even extreme stupidity" if the person has apologized and hasn't repeated it." I can't even wrap my head around the stupidity of her statement.
"Life is dynamic and life does not stay fixed in the past," says MAG curator Searl. "We don't bring to any other work of art the life history, typically, of the artist who created it, and if we did, we would certainly have a hard time with some of the works of art that are most valued in our culture." Now that's an explanation/defense I can live with. I still don't like it, but I can live with it.
I don't feel qualified to judge the work. I'll have to experience it to see if I enjoy it or not. But it's apparent the other commenters are not qualified to judge it either, since they are letting their moral outrage rule their thoughts. If they feel morally superior to Mr. Otterness then they should be able to use that superiority to forgive him. He has asked forgiveness, now the ball is in their court.
ZRC.... Otterness' sculptures look to me like something that would have been designed by a Stalin-era Soviet architect on speed. But hey, I don't have the over-active imagination of his apologists.
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