Art Nerd City Guides: New York · Los Angeles

Life Underground by Tom Otterness

Everyone I know loves Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground,” the Fraggle Rock Doozer-like small bronze characters inhabiting the 8th Avenue L train station. For some reason I’ve always hated them with an unnatural passion. They annoy me to no end. I used to see them everyday as I went to work, climbing out of fake manhole covers, holding big bronze sacks of money, crawling underneath subway bars. I find them cheesy and lame, I really don’t have a reason other than I don’t like them.

Tom Otterness, Life Underground, Meatpacking, Subway Art

His cartoony bronzes are everywhere- all over children’s play areas mostly, frogs and birds dot parks all over the city. A horse and buggy sat in DUMBO for awhile. There is even a statue on the bar at Max Fish. But did you know before all these quirky wuirky cutesy wutesy bronze characters, Otterness started his career by adopting a dog- no, not to make a bronze character of it. Otterness made a little film called “Shot Dog Film.” Yep, Mr. Otterness adopted this pup in order to shoot it, and film it slowly dying in agony. He then put that film on loop. Now, that’s ART! Writer Gary Indiana said it best, “Tom Otterness adopted a dog and then shot it to death for the fun of recording his infantile, sadistic depravity on film.” He has since apologized, but whatever. Now I dislike his bronzes even more.

Who: Tom Otterness

What: Life Underground

Where: 8th Avenue L train station, 14th Street and 8th Avenue

Comments
10 Responses to “Life Underground by Tom Otterness”
  1. Life Underground at 8th ave subway may be “cute”, but Tom Otterness once shot a dog to make an art film http://t.co/L8dxF5xh @artnerdnewyork

  2. That is vile! He should be in jail… MT @LoriZimmer Tom Otterness once shot a dog to make an art film http://t.co/Do893VVO @artnerdnewyork

  3. I liked those cute little bronze statues in the subway at 8th/14th, until I heard the artist murdered a dog for art: http://t.co/gMEzpc5a

  4. .@claytoncubitt @justinmaller I might adopt a dog so i can film it shitting all over his stupid art. http://t.co/e4G7EadP

  5. they are also at the adventure mall in ft lauderdale

  6. I agree wholeheartedly – the people of san fran voted his proposal down for being a dog-killer! kudos!!

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  1. […] really are Tom Otterness pieces all over New York (like my not so favorite “Life Underground”). Living around the corner from this site, Otterness has given the playground of PS 20 this large […]

  2. […] a fair person, so I’ve accepted the fact that some of you like dog killer Tom Otterness. So, I guess I’ll let you know that one of his newer, cuter bronzes called Mama Bear is […]



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