Tom Otterness on Contemporary Art

Question: What’s the state of contemporary art?

Tom Otterness: I like what I see. I think it’s an interesting place. I’m not… There was a time when I would know about new art before it hit the galleries. These days, I’m afraid I find out about it maybe when it hits the museum, so I’m a little behind on what’s really frontline in work right now. What I see I like, I think it’s an interesting time… It’s a new world and people are grappling with the content of that world, I think, and it helps me to see what other artists are doing with that so… Question: Does art have to be accessible? Otterness: No. I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t think that’s a restriction I would ever wanna put on other artists that that’s a requirement. It is a… It is part of this dilemma of democracy in America for public work that that’s the quality that at least I find it required to be accessible, to make it through that kind of [gauntlet] of committees and approvals and stuff. Very difficult to make a more sophisticated art world, public work there, at least permanently. Temporary work, it seems that that can, that’s being done public art fund, then other places are getting more challenging work as long as it’s temporary here… I think it’s really valuable. It’s, I think of it like research scientist that artists are… Have the right to talk to each other and talk at a level above common understanding, you know, and that kind of conversation should always go on and… The public will catch up to that frontline stuff in 30 years or something, you know, and it’ll have an effect, right? If we restricted scientist from talking about stuff that we didn’t understand, we’d be in a lot of trouble. So, we have to have that and it seems opaque and it seems deliberately opaque, but it’s just that we’re not, we haven’t kept up with a conversation that those artists are having… And therefore we can understand it.

We’re at a good moment in art, Tom Otterness says.

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