As part of its new sculpture park, the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) at the University of Rochester is planning to install a piece by Tom Otterness, who notoriously purchased a dog from an animal shelter, tied him to a fence, and shot him to death as part of a 1977 “art” film. Although he has since apologized, he reportedly has yet to make any meaningful gesture of regret, such as donating time or money to a reputable animal shelter.
Public outcry has led to the cancellation or postponement of other Otterness sculptures, including a planned New York Public Library sculpture that was canceled after PETA protested. So far, MAG has ignored the most recent protests and plans to proceed with Otterness’ commission.
PETA is urging people to avoid visiting MAG so that the gallery will get the message that killing animals is always cruel and that animal abusers should be held accountable. Instead, we encourage people to check out artists such as Miru Kim and Nafe Nanfeng as well as art collective Neozoon, all of whom use their work to help stop cruelty to animals.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan