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Events
  • Otis Books is pleased to publish Tim Erickson’s debut collection of poetry, Egopolis, a textual journey through destruction, resistance, city, and the Ego, from ancient times to the present day. Erickson’s work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Salt Anthology of New Writing. He lives in Salt Lake City.

  • Otis Graduate Writing students will read from their works-in-progress.

  • Exquisite Beauty is the first retrospective and publication to document the eye-dazzling ceramics created by Ralph Bacerra (1938–2008), a Los Angeles–based artist known for his innovative approach to surface embellishment. Curated by Jo Lauria, the exhibition features more than ninety of the artist’s finest pieces—dramatic, highly decorated vessels and sculptures that have never before been the focus of a major exhibition or publication.

  • Opening Reception for Ralph Bacerra: Exquisite Beauty

  • David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and currently teaches at USC. He is the author of the novels Little, The Hiawatha, The Translation of Dr. Apelles, named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, as well as a critical work, Native American Fiction: A User's Manual. In 2012, he published another nonfiction work, Rez Life.

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.

O-Tube

Ralph Bacerra Tribute

Biography

Renowned ceramist Ralph Bacerra passed away on June 10th at his home in Eagle Rock. He was a long time member of the Otis Community, chairing the Ceramics program from 1983 to 1996. His Los Angeles Times obituary included the following quote in reference to his piece Teapot (part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection): “The piece was not created to brew tea but to be enjoyed as a purely visual and tactile experience...” Long represented by Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bacerra made work to be enjoyed rather than analyzed. In an interview for the Smithsonian oral history project he said, “I am not making any statements—social, political, conceptual, or even intellectual. There is no meaning or metaphor. I am committed more to the idea of pure beauty. When it is finished, the piece, should be like an ornament, exquisitely beautiful.”1

Apart from his own words, the idea was probably best described in a 1999 New York Times review by Ken Johnson—“To look at Ralph Bacerra's gorgeous ceramic vessels is to wallow in visual hedonism. Mr. Bacerra, an immensely skilled craftsman based in Los Angeles, does not try to express any important meaning, social, psychological, philosophical or otherwise. His works are witty and sophisticated in their manipulation of influences ranging from Japanese to early modernist to Pop, but mainly he wants to delight the eyes of his viewers.”

Ensure the artistic legacy of Ralph Bacerra. Make your gift now to support the exhibition Exquisite Beauty: The Ceramics of Ralph Bacerra.

Art is What I Do: The Life of Ralph Bacerra, a film by Jo Lauria (’90), was produced by The Boardman Family Foundation in cooperation with Otis. Lois and Bob Boardman are longtime friends of Ralph Bacerra and collectors of his work.

As a one-time graduate student, a longstanding friend, and a life-long admirer of Ralph Bacerra, I wanted to pursue making this film to document Ralph's life. Viewed through the eyes of those who knew him, and heard through the voices of those strongly compelled to speak, this portrait presents the man, the mentor, the artist whose light burned brightly and its brilliancy shone through his spectacular ceramics. Film is the medium that lives both in the moment and perpetually. This documentary on Ralph Bacerra evokes memories of a life that did not last long enough, and celebrates a legacy that will last forever.

—Jo Lauria (’90)

Thanks to family, friends, gallery owners, museum directors, curators, collectors, colleagues, and former students of Ralph Bacerra who kindly agreed to be interviewed for the film.

David Armstrong
George and Connie Baccera

Cindy Bass

Ken Deavers

James Durney ’86

Sidney B. Felsen
Keiko Fukazawa ’86
Jim Hinkley ’89

Joanne Horton ’94

Bonnie Ikemura
Christy Johnson

Gloria B. Kamm

Solomon M. Kamm (Sonny)
Sue Keane ’96
John Kimmelmann
Yumi Kiyose ’91
Cindy Kolodziejski ’86
Jo Lauria ’90
Elaine Levin
Frank Lloyd

Ricky Maldonado
Tricia McGuigan ’97
Robert Miller ’90
Rich Mudge ’93

Kevin A. Myers ’91
Merry Norris
Lance Ogata ’91

Elsa Rady

Steve Rivers ’90
Leslie Rosdol ’88
Joan Takayama-Ogawa ’89
Porntip Sangvanich ’87
Adrian Saxe
Peter Shire

Anna Silver

Lin Werne