The Real World

WATCH: BPCA Presents: Public Art on Video – The Real World

Taking over its corner of the park with gleeful abandon, Tom Otterness’s whimsical sculptural installation entitled The Real World is one of New York’s most popular public artworks. Cast in bronze, the sculptures feature Otterness’s signature cartoonish figures: animals and people, bankers and robbers, laborers and pilgrims, predators and prey, all rubbing shoulders in his delightfully loopy narrative world. There is an entire bustling society in miniature including frogs wrestling over a moat, a titling tower and diminutive workers rolling giant pennies toward a multi-armed idol. Scattered nearby are a giant fist and feet and a bulbous-nosed creature seated on a bench pondering a bound animal that may be his next meal. Even as Otterness’s characters erect their monuments and enact their wile they remain oblivious to the giant viewer. Mixing levity and discord, biology and social commentary, Otterness’s fanciful world is always vividly entertaining.

Tom Otterness’s other public commissions include the Los Angeles Federal Court Plaza and the 14th Street/8th Avenue subway station, in New York City.