Tom Otterness (b. 1952-), is from Wichita, Kansas and currently lives and works in New York. He came to New York City in 1970 to study at the Arts Students League, and later took part in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Described Otterness as “the world’s best public sculptor” by New York Times art critic, Ken Johnson, Otterness' works are easily recognizable for its unique, cheerful and cartoonish figures, that are used to address issues of gender, class and race.
In 1977, he became a member of Collaborative Projects, a pioneering community of independent artists, where he took a leading role in organizing Colab’s 1980 Times Square Show, which was called “the first avant-garde art show of the ‘80s” by the Village Voice.
As public art is his focus, Otterness has had dozens of major public commissions, including the New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency, the Park Avenue Mall in New York, more than a dozen sites in downtown Indianapolis, on the grounds of the Beverly Hills city hall, and throughout Grand Rapids, Michigan. His international commissions include public plazas in Münster, Germany, Toronto, Canada, and Seoul, South Korea, and a large public park in Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
Otterness is represented by many important contemporary art galleries, and was elected a member of the National Academy in 1994. His works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Eli Broad Family Foundation, the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum, the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and others.