Tom Otterness

Sculpture & Drawing: 1996 - 2017

Sep 10 — Oct 12, 2019
New York, Uptown

Marlborough is pleased to announce a comprehensive exhibition of works by Tom Otterness. It will consist of some 40 sculptures as well as several works on paper and include many of the key works created by the artist over the past 23 years. The works, which range in scale from compact to monumental, will be displayed throughout the second floor gallery as well as in the 57th-56th Street Breezeway.

Otterness’s well-known and endlessly inventive sculptural creations have made him one of the most popular American artists of the day. His signature figures—Cones, Spheres, and Cylinders—are presented in a wide range of sculptural situations. The shapes have the effect of universalizing form yet are remarkably expressive. Each is recognizably his own creation and at the same time reflective of art history, fables, allegories or current events.

Sculptures in bronze as well as Stainless Steel are among the works presented. Highlights include the monumental Sad Sphere (large) from 2014. The work is a unique Stainless Steel figure on a limestone base—head in hands and elbows on knees, the figure seems to have taken on the cares of the world all by himself. In spite of this, viewers get a sense that the contemplative figure is as determined as he is forlorn.

Kissing Dung Beetles (2007), a seven-foot tall bronze, is, according to Otterness, “an optimistic spin on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.” Here the multi-legged male and female beetles are embracing atop a moneybag, a frequent object in the artist’s oeuvre. He continues, “It’s very passionate….Whether they are in love with each other or the money is in question, but they are happy.”

In addition to his beloved Kissing Cones and Kissing Spheres, many of the artist’s animal sculptures will be on display. Denizens of the animal kingdom from a lioness to a mouse are a part of the exhibition as well as several incarnations of his celebrated bears. Drawings in pencil are also highlights, and beginning in 2015, Otterness began making drawings on treated paper with silverpoint, the metallic stylus favored by Leonardo da Vinci.

Sculptures by Tom Otterness are in the collections of numerous museums including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Miyagi Museum of Art, Sendai: Beelden aan Zee Museum, The Hague; and Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (IVAM) Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia. Commissioned public art projects have included the United States courthouses in Minneapolis and Sacramento, an extensive installation at the governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, Life Underground, over 100 iconic sculptures installed throughout the 14th Street subway station in New York City. 

In 2004 Otterness staged a series of monumental outdoor shows, beginning with the highly acclaimed Tom Otterness on Broadway, an exhibition of twenty-five bronze sculptures that spanned five miles of the famous New York thoroughfare. This in turn inspired similar exhibitions in Indianapolis, Indiana, Beverly Hills, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Otterness was also the first contemporary artist invited to create a helium balloon, Humpty Dumpty, for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Otterness, originally from Wichita, Kansas, has been a New York resident since the 1970s. An illustrated catalog will be available at the time of the exhibition. 


Bronze falling penny, limbs askew
Falling Penny (Greenish-Brown Patina), 1996, bronze, edition of 3, 56 × 48 × 31 in., 142.2 × 121.9 × 78.7 cm. Photo: Pierre le Hors.
bronze figure huddled in corner. long limbs
Family in Corner, 2017, bronze, edition of 6, 12 × 8 × 9 in., 30.5 × 20.3 × 22.9 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
parents and child, on pedestal
Immigrant Family (medium), 2007, bronze, edition of 9, 32 3/4 × 32 1/2 × 32 1/2 in., 83.2 × 82.6 × 82.6 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
microscope, small figures climbing on it
Microscope (small), 2007, bronze, edition of 7, 17 1/2 × 9 × 3 1/2 in., 44.5 × 22.9 × 8.9 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
blindfolded horseman on blindfolded horse
Horse and Rider, 2004, bronze, edition of 6, 44 3/4 × 15 1/2 × 43 in., 113.7 × 39.4 × 109.2 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
large bear, baby bears crawling over her
Mama Bear, 2011, bronze, edition of 6, 64 1/2 × 52 3/4 × 44 in., 163.8 × 134 × 111.8 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
princess leans down to take golden ring from the fish
Princess with Magic Fish, 2003, bronze, edition of 2 AP, 30 × 34 5/8 × 14 1/8 in., 76.2 × 88 × 35.9 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
stainless steel figure lying down, arms behind his head
Reclining Cylinder, 2016, stainless steel and limestone, 14 × 15 1/2 × 28 in., 35.6 × 39.4 × 71.1 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.
all kinds of material are driven up a bridge into the waiting mouth of The Consumer
The Consumer (medium), 2007, bronze, edition of 9, 27 × 30 × 20 in., 68.6 × 76.2 × 50.8 cm. Photo: Pierre Le Hors.