Tom Otterness was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1952. By 1970 he had arrived in New York to attend the Art Students League, followed by The Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Otterness redefines the tradition of cast bronze figurative sculpture by using whimsical cartoon-like figures to make critical commentaries on political and social issues. Not only do his sculptures vary in size from colossal to minute, they also address a wide range of emotions and experiences. Their placement in parks, subway stations, and other public areas around the country allow the works to be appreciated by people from all walks of life. Otterness’s combination of unforeseen subject matter and fanciful characters makes his work universally appealing.
Otterness works mainly in bronze sculpture, but his ideas have been realized on paper in the form of drawings and etchings. The unique, simplified forms he creates to convey thought-provoking themes succeed in whichever medium Otterness employs. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Otterness has received a number of public commissions across the United States and abroad, and he is represented in many public collections including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; IVAM Center Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Spain; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.