Tom Otterness is one of the world’s most prominent public sculptors. His large-scale installations of cartoon-like characters and imagery in bronze have delighted children and intrigued adults at all levels of art-world sophistication for more than forty years. While Otterness’s characters are playful, they often carry a political message critical of capitalism and economic imbalance.
If you live or have ridden the subways in New York City, for example, you may have rushed by one of the artist’s installations, which range in size from small to monumental. His work deals with themes of money, class, and the individual’s role in society. Inspired by overtly political imagery such as policemen rousing the homeless, and thieves pulling bags of money up flights of stairs, Otterness’s work also includes references to fairy tales and animal spirits in the form of bears riding bulls, “cash cows,” and the Old Woman and the Shoe.