Major Sculpture by Tom Otterness on Loan to Outdoor Art Collection

Stanford, California—Makin’ Hay, a large outdoor sculpture made in 2002 by the internationally recognized artist Tom Otterness, will be on loan to Stanford University beginning this summer.  The work is comprised of three figures approximately 15 to 17 feet in height made from hay bales and steel.   It will be installed near the pathway to Stanford's radio-telescope, known as "the dish," at the intersection of Stanford Avenue and Junipero Serra Blvd. on July 12 and 13.

Otterness made Makin’ Hay three years ago in response to a friendly contest, What the Hay!, sponsored by farmers living near Utica, Montana, where Otterness spends some of his time.  In this “grass roots” venture, farmers created large-scale sculptures from baled hay.  (Examples include a monumental radio entitled Ra-hay-dio  and The Great Sphaynx, a work “prepared specifically for cattle that craved exotic fare.”)  Otterness produced Makin’ Hay in the same playful spirit as his farmer-neighbors.  Like the themes explored in many of Otterness’s well-known bronzes, Makin’ Hay is both popular and populist, a work that is approachable, familiar, and enjoyable.  Makin’ Hay gently parodies the painting TheGleaners of 1857, in the Louvre, a work by Jean-François Millet, a well-known 19th-century French artist.

After the contest in Montana, Makin’ Hay was acquired by the Alturas Foundation and was shown in Sun Valley, Idaho, and at the University of Washington at Pullman.  Otterness has visited Stanford twice to select a site and is particularly pleased by the loan of Makin’ Hay.  He likes the connection between the agricultural roots of the campus as the Stanford family horse farm.  The Alturas Foundation is generously providing funding for shipping and installing Makin’ Hay.  The Alturas Foundation also is lending the sculpture Floating Peel by Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg on view in the courtyard of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford. (For information about the Alturas Foundation, visit

Otterness, who is 52, recently had one of the largest one-man sculpture exhibitions in New York City.  In Tom Otterness on Broadway, 24 bronzes by the artist were installed along the median on Broadway from 64th through 168th Streets from September 20, 2004 through March 18, 2005. 

Makin’ Hay joins more than 30 works of modern and contemporary art on view in the Stanford University Outdoor Art Collection, which is available to the public for viewing.  The Outdoor Art Collection also includes the Rodin Sculpture Garden, with special lighting for nighttime viewing, and the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, totaling more than 100 works outdoors on campus. Cantor Arts Center docents offer tours of selected works in the outdoor sculpture collection at 2 p.m. on the first and third Sunday every month, rain or shine.  Tours may be arranged for groups at other times by calling 650-723-3469 at least six weeks in advance.  Docent tours are free.  Call 650-723-4177.