GREENWICH VILLAGE — The cartoonish bronze statues by artist Tom Otterness that decorate the subway station at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue has gotten some new friends.
Commuters Friday morning noticed a new statue on one of the staircase landings leading to the L train platform, featuring a ponytailed man pointing a gun at a dog in an apparent knock at the artist for his controversial past work.
Otterness, whose works have been commissioned all over the world, came under fire for adopting a dog from an animal shelter the '70s and shooting it to death on camera for an art film.
An employee at the Tom Otterness studio said that the statue was not the artist's work, adding that the Otterness is out of the country and could not comment.
Gothamist identified the artist as Andrew Tider, who confirmed he was behind the sculptures but noted they weren't done in protest of Otterness' act. Tider told DNAinfo New York he worked with local sculptor Lisa Barnstone.
The new figure dons a hat similar to the other genuine Otterness statues nearby and is shown standing on a bag of money — again like other art work in the station.
Otterness has been reviled by animal rights activists for the 1977 film, despite him apologizing for the work.
Tider, who said he works as a freelance creative director for ad agencies, told DNAinfo New York he "teamed with a local sculptor to bring the piece to life," but declined to identify the person.
In a statement, Tider explained that he wasn't actually protesting the film Otterness made in the '70s, but rather calling the artist out for not including himself in the subway station installation, called "Life Underground." The installation is a criticism of capitalism, and Tider said Otterness should recognize that he is operating within that system, as well. He also placed another sculpture nearby depicting Tider holding a camera that he said went largely unnoticed.
"I think it's important that as we wag our finger at others, we take the time to question our own place in the system(s) we participate in — whether they be a country, corporation or other unit," Tider wrote in his statement. "Otterness seems disdainful of the picture of capitalism he created with Life Underground but is he not a part of that system? Does he not profit from it?"
The full statement was reprinted by Gothamist.
Tider said the MTA was removing his sculptures, though the agency did not immediately return a request for comment.
"I'm disappointed that they're taking it down, but I'm not particularly surprised," he said. "I just hope that people are able to have some sort of thoughtful discourse based on the idea."
Three years ago, downtown dog lovers protested an installation of Otterness' art outside the Battery Park City Library. The Battery Park City Authority declined to accept his work on that occasion on the grounds that they are not allowed to take gifts.