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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


Curricular Connections: Food - Water - Life / Lucy + Jorge Orta Exhibition

Food - Water - Life / Lucy + Jorge Orta

August 16 – December 6, 2014

OrtaWater Fluvial Intervention Unit, 2005

Artists: Lucy + Jorge Orta

Organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA; curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox (c2|curatorsquared)

Ben Maltz Gallery is the only West Coast venue of this U.S. premiere of the Orta’s work. Lucy + Jorge Orta are on campus October 20-25 for a week-long residency working with Otis students and giving lectures. The residency week culminates with a public conversation between the artists and the curators, followed by a reception, on Saturday, October 25, 3pm-6pm.

The sculptures, drawings, installations and video by this Paris-based wife and husband duo Lucy + Jorge Orta collectively explore major concerns that define the 21st century: biodiversity, environmental conditions, climate change and exchange among peoples. As heirs to the practice of social sculpture, formulated by Joseph Beuys in the 1960s, the Ortas’ works are relics of their own function—beguiling assemblages that are the platform for the preparation of food, mechanisms that actually purify water, and elements created for a 2007 expedition to Antarctica that are part of an effort to amend the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The works in this exhibition are metaphors-in-action, constructions that perform the tasks of which they are emblematic.

These humorous, jerrybuilt contraptions are obviously not the most efficient means to purify, prepare and transport food and water, or to launch a world-wide humanitarian effort, but in their ability to actually function, albeit, awkwardly and haltingly, they gain power as works of art created to move us to awareness and action. The artists have created a unique visual language through which they tackle the major global issues affecting our lives and the precarious position of this planet. As the Orta’s artwork communicates widely to audiences beyond the field of contemporary art, it demonstrates the importance of art as a creative agent for awareness and change: their work embodies the philosophy that steers their pioneering art practice, “the ethics of aesthetics.”

Working in partnership since 2005, Lucy + Jorge Orta create, produce, and assemble their artworks and large installations together with a team of artists, designers, architects, and craftspeople. They stage on-location workshops, ephemeral interventions, residencies, and master classes, which explore the crucial themes of the contemporary world: the community, autonomy, dwelling, migration, sustainable development, and recycling. Their work has been the focus of important survey exhibitions in major museums, including: the Barbican Art Gallery, London; Modern Art Museum, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; as well as the Venice, Havana, and Johannesburg Biennales.

The Artists

Studio Orta
List of Exhibitions

The Curators


Exhibition Info

Press Release
Exhibition Checklist

Exhibition Didactics

Introduction Wall Text
Food, Life, and Water Wall Texts
Wall Quotes

Exhibition Catalogue

Food Service: Setting the Table | Ellen Lupton
Life Science: OrtaWater | Zoe Ryan
Subject = Object: Antarctic Village - No Borders | Judith Hoos Fox and Ginger Gregg Duggan
Full Catalogue
Food-Water-Life / Lucy + Jorge Orta |  | 61 pages | Princeton Architectural Press

Further Reading

Otis Library
Food-Water-Life | https://opac.otis.edu/lib/item?id=chamo:285388&theme=otis
Lucy Orta | https://opac.otis.edu/lib/item?id=chamo:50869&theme=otis
Studio Orta - some of the books viewable in full as pdfs




Fabulae Romanae, Lucy + Jorge Orta, 2012

Amazonia, Lucy + Jorge Orta, 2010

Lucy Orta, short filmportrait

TED talk by Lucy Orta

L'art et la manière / Lucy + Jorge Orta
In French, but gives tour inside the working of the Orta Studio