Events
  • Otis College alumni in the New York/Tri-State area are invited to a reception welcoming visiting Otis College fashion students at Global Brands Group headquarters in the Empire State Building. Join fellow alumni to celebrate the culmination of the Fashion Design Department's annual trip to Manhattan. This special event - open to all alumni from both undergraduate and graduate departments - is a great chance to reconnect with friends, welcome new Fashion Design alumni from the Class of 2017, and meet Otis College leaders including Fashion Design Interim Chair Jill Higashi-Zeleznik.

  • In conjunction with the current exhibition Patterns Bigger Than Any of Us: Jesse Fleming / Pat O'Neill in Ben Maltz Gallery, May 7 - August 12, 2017.

    In Conversation: Jesse Fleming and Pat O'Neill, moderated by LA-based idependent curator and historian Ciara Moloney

     

    Jesse Fleming (b. 1977) is part of an emerging group of artists and technologists that examine the convergence of media art and mindfulness. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Five Car Garage; 356 Mission; and Night Gallery, all in Los Angeles, CA; and the University of Texas in Austin, TX.

    Pat O’Neill’s (b. 1939) artistic and filmmaking career spans over 50 years, and he is highly-regarded for his experiments with film and optical printing. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA; Monitor in Rome, Italy; VeneKlasen/Werner in Berlin, Germany; Quinta do Quetzal in Vidigueira, Portugal; Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York, NY; and Cherry and Martin in Los Angeles, CA.

    Ciara Moloney is an independent curator, editor, and writer based in Los Angeles. She was formerly Curator of Exhibitions and Projects at Modern Art Oxford where she curated exhibitions by Barbara Kruger, Josh Kline, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Christian Boltanski and Kiki Kogelnik.

  • Amelia Gray is the author of the short story collections AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, and Gutshot, as well as the novels Threats and, most recently, Isadora, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tin House, and VICE. She is winner of the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, of FC2's Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. 

  • Luis J. Rodriguez was Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016. The twenty-fifth edition of his first book, Poems Across the Pavement, won a 2015 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has written fourteen other books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction, including the best-selling memoir Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. Rodriguez is also founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. In 2016 Tia Chucha Press produced the largest anthology of L.A.-area poets, Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles. Rodriguez’s last memoir It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. His latest poetry collection Borrowed Bones appeared in 2016 from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press.

  • Raised in Philadelphia, with roots in South Africa and Trinidad, Zinzi Clemmons’ writing has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Transition, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and support from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is co-founder and former Publisher of Apogee Journal, and a Contributing Editor to LitHub. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Colburn Conservatory and Occidental College. Her debut novel, What We Lose, as well as a second title, are forthcoming from Viking.

  • Louise Sandhaus is a graphic designer and graphic design educator. She was previously Director of the Graphic Design Program at CalArts where she currently is faculty. Her recent book on California graphic design, Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires and Riots: California and Graphic Design 1936-1986, co-published by Metropolis Books and Thames & Hudson, has received laudatory reviews from The New York Times, The Guardian, Eye, and Creative Review. The book received the Palm d’Argent for best art book at FILAF (International Festival of Art Books and Films on Art).

  • Photo Credit: Jesse Pniak

     

    F. Douglas Brown received the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize (selected by Tracy K. Smith) for Zero to Three, published by the University of Georgia. He also co-authored the chapbook Begotten with Geffrey Davis as part of Upper Rubber Boot Book's Floodgate Poetry Series. Both a past Cave Canem and Kundiman Fellow, his poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The Virginia Quarterly, Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. He is co-founder and curator of un::fade::able - The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism. Brown currently teaches English at Loyola High School in Los Angeles.

O-Tube

Meg Cranston interview

How does art reflect current media? (or how does YOUR work do this?)
Current or mass media uses exactly the same set of skills as art though art and mass media are valued differently. Art traffics in rarity and, at least superficially, profundity. Mass media, by contrast, is almost purely a numbers game. It gathers meaning and importance by the number of times it is reproduced and by the number of people who engage with it.  In social media (and increasingly, all mass media) value is established by “likes.” Mass media is very direct and democratic in that sense. Like all artists today, I can’t ignore mass media. I don’t want to. It is a language we all use and understand. I use a lot of popular imagery in work. I don’t use an image in the way it was originally intended but I do, in a sense, borrow the power it gained in mass culture. I never wanted to separate myself from the larger culture. I am an optimist. I say yes to everything.

What were the most compelling exhibits you saw in L.A. last year? Elsewhere?
The Caravaggio show at LACMA included only eight Caravaggio paintings but that’s a lot because it’s very difficult for museums to borrow the paintings. Caravaggio’s work always looks contemporary. To me, the paintings look like advertising. He knew how to sell a subject in way that is totally understood by contemporary viewers.
The other show that really impressed me was in New York. Thomas Hirschhorn is favorite among L.A. artists and Otis students. He did project at a housing project in the Bronx dedicated to the philosopher Gramsci in which the residents were completely involved in every aspect. They created a radio station, a café, a lecture series, and a garden. It went on for months, and was just really fresh and exciting. Hirschhorn’s attitude is that the purpose of art is to generate energy. Everything else is secondary. I totally agree with that.

What do you see as the difference between L.A. and N.Y. art scenes?
I encounter the N.Y. scene mostly through galleries and art dealers, and less by hanging out with artists. I go to N.Y. primarily to do shows. From that vantage point, N.Y. is all about the market. Dealers like David Zwirner seem to make the news more than their artists. People talk about auctions because the big auction houses are in N.Y., and auctions have increasingly become central to art.
L.A. is different. It’s a place where many great artists choose to live and work. A lot of artists work here and do business elsewhere. That is certainly true in my case.

What's your favorite place in L.A.?
I really admire what (Director) Annie Philbin has created at the Hammer Museum. It is a good model of the museum as social space. There is so much going on, and it really has revitalized Westwood.

What are you reading?  What blogs do you follow?
I recently read Uncreative Writing by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. He argues that creative writing lags behind visual art in the sense that it remains for the most part locked into the self-expressionist model. Long ago, visual artists experimented with using neutral information or strategies to create works that were interesting but had nothing to do with their biography. He argues that writers should be influenced by visual art and the freedom visual artists have to borrow or appropriate from whatever sources they choose. To that end, he made a text using transcripts of weather reports and another using transcripts of 911 calls. Basically the idea is that ordinary “uncreative” sources produce novelty and a new reinvigorated idea of creativity.  Goldsmith also does the site Ubuweb.com, a fantastic resource for film and video, writing etc. I’m also reading Tenth of December by George Saunders. It’s so great that a really good writer has become a best seller.

What do you think about Vern Blosum?
I think it’s funny and totally fine. It was done as a hoax I guess but if the paintings are convincing who really cares why someone made them? I don’t think they are the best paintings but I have no problem with prank. Art is full of pranks. So what?

Dave Hickey, in a recent talk, asserted that "Artists are narcissists and should stay so." He talked about art world people at the top (the folks with “silver bowls full of cocaine”) and people at the bottom, stating that those are the only two positions on the spectrum that could cultivate creative work, and dismissing everything in the middle. He also expressed surprise that critics so rarely write negative reviews, since he so rarely sees artwork that makes him excitedly wonder "what are they going to make after this?" Agree/disagree?
I don’t always agree with Dave Hickey but I appreciate him as a writer and gadfly. He writes very well. That’s important. Ultimately, critics are persuasive because people enjoy reading them, so writing well is critical. I don’t agree that artists “in the middle” can’t do anything. A lot of artists come from ordinary middle class backgrounds and stay more or less middle class. Despite the pose, it was same for many white rock and roll musicians. I agree that few critics seem interested in writing negative reviews. Audiences do like an occasional scathing review but critics have to be pretty certain they’re right.

What are YOU working on now?
I am working on a series of painting for an exhibition in Berlin. I am also on my way to Afghanistan to do a project. A group of L.A. women artists are collaborating with women weavers to design carpets.

If you had to choose one work of art to take to a desert island, what would it be?
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, primarily because it is over 1,000 pages long.

How did you choose the piñata as a means for self-portraiture?
There were two ideas. The first was that having a piñata of you in Tijuana is the ultimate measure of fame. Jeff Koons might be famous but he isn’t piñata famous. No artist is. The second idea came from a famous ethnographic film by Timothy Ashe and Napoleon Chagnon called “Magical Death.” It shows the Yanomamo tribe practicing ritual warfare. They did that to lessen the occurrence of real fighting. The idea was that my effigy would undergo ritual violence so that my actual self wouldn’t have to.

 

 

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