Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tom Otterness: Horse and Rider redux!

Replicas of "Horse and Rider" - the full sized bronze original is at The Texas Tech University in Lubbock. 
I am utterly beside myself ... I'm now the proud owner of not one, but two Tom Otterness sculptures, entitled "Horse and Rider."

Now before commuters familiar with the Brooklyn artist's quirky little figurines strewn around Manhattan's subway stations accuse me of grand theft with a hacksaw (um, make that a chainsaw), these are cast resin replicas. The read deal (and other objects of my profound desire) are being exhibited Feb 23 at the artist's outlet of choice, Marlborough Gallery, and will probably set you back at least $7K, last I looked.

I came face to nose with the real deal at the Armory Show, NYC, 2011
The "Horse and Rider" full-size bronze currently graces the campus of the Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The subject itself is a  loose interpretation of the Texas Tech Uni's mascot, ‘The Masked Rider’. The tradition of the Masked Rider started as a dare in 1936 when an unidentified masked or ghost rider would circle the football field during home games. The Masked Rider became an official mascot in 1954. This TTU PDF explains it further, and shows some other Masked Rider sculptures by other artists.


Apparently the students loved the goofy-looking duo so much the artist got these little keepsakes made at around $27 a pop - $17 if you were a student. On discovering they haven't been available for quite some time, I wrote to Tom with an old link I'd saved and he traded me this night/day pair for one of my large Traffic Cone Bags.

Tom Otterness now has one of my Traffic Cone Bags!
Does Tom ride a bike? Given that no bikes appear in his sculptures, I suspected not ... 

"I gave up bike riding after doing a cost/benefit analysis of risk- but would love to have your bag," he wrote.  "I often carry bike messenger bags to drag things around town."

The 5 1/8" replicas surprised me - they are unusually heavy and dense, almost as if sculpted from plaster. I applaud Tom for making these keepsakes nice and substantial!


Tom was kind enough to "sign" the horses' handsome street shoes.
For those who haven't had the thrill of encountering Otterness' world of little bronze men, women, animals and social commentary on big bad capitalism, here's a selection I shot in the subways over the period 2009-2011, finishing with a handful of jpgs from Marlborough Gallery. Even more Otterness here

Above and below: This little guy clearly not afraid of heights

The extra shiny money bag is due to the many hands that use it to swing down  to the second flight of stairs. 

Mr and Mrs Average hold tight to their retirement

The kids must love this one! 
Big foot!
Ad capitalistic snake in the corner



Otterness has other sculptures on display at Texas Tech Uni, like the complex Tornado of Ideas, but not everyone is amused by his wry sense of humor.

More about the Masked Rider

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