Tom Otterness
Sculptor
03:14

Tom Otterness on Art’s Big Money Problem

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Art’s nebulous purpose draws in the money. Tom Otterness responds.

Tom Otterness

Tom Otterness is an American sculptor whose permanent installation, "Life Underground," is located in the 14th St/8th Avenue subway station in New York City. His work, usually cartoonish and cheerful but with a dark side, can be found in parks and public squares throughout the world. Otterness works out of a 20,000 square-foot studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Transcript

Question: Is some collectors spend too much on art?

Tom Otterness: Well, we’re not building bombers with it. I mean I think that’s the useful ways that he’s captured that much money and neutralize it in a way and, oh, I think I just saw a man in a wire, so I’m thinking of Philippe Petit, and I think, oh, that’s a public work. That’s an event, you know, that was purposeless but it sent people, sent their imaginations free for a moment, and then now somehow there’s something about it having happened and now that towers are gone too, so it really is very, a theory, all kind of floating image and it stays in your mind. I mean, after [IB] work is done, that will stay on your mind, so in many minds… I happened to come up and I was going to school when that happened. I’ve been working at night at National History Museum and I came up at 7:30 and looked up and saw everybody was looking up and it go, what, what is this? And, you know, you see it, and then everything is gone now. So the only, only remnant is in your head, you know… I think that’s the purpose. It’s worth, and so what, so it cost a lot of money, or so many of these things cost a lot of money. In a way, that’s a draw to the public. I think the public loves that the idea it costs so much money and it has no purpose. I think that actually pulls them in.


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