Tom Otterness on Learning From Travel

Tom Otterness’s travels in the Mid-East changed his view of New York.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What did you learn in your travels?

Tom Otterness: You know, I came in 1970 and I was with the group of artist at [CoLab] a kind of group of 50 artists and really that’s when I, you know, being involved in that group and in that period in the ‘60s, I mean, in the… That period in the mid ‘70s where the [state] it was really devastated and it looks like Berlin after the bombing, I mean, the places that we’re where, [IB] in the Bronx. I guess too when I think about it, I’d traveled at that same time ‘76, I’d traveled around the world and that gave me a sort of over land through Afghanistan and Turkey and Afghanistan and Iran and Pakistan and India and Thailand. And I spent about a year traveling with a friend of mine through there, and that change my world, you know, the view of America, of my view of the world coming from Kansas… You know, you realize that three quarters of the world is not white and that the economy of the world is, you know, the view from America is really upside down. It’s really very, it’s… People don’t know what to think about America from the outside or they know. We don’t perceive the world the way the other people do, and that was a big revelation to me. It’s very simplistic but it was a big revelation. And so when I came back, I think… What I saw in New York was affected by that trip. Then it has been since at, you know, kind of going to the third world countries in general will give you some perspective here so…