Otis College of Art and Design logo
  • 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.


Matt Lifson ('12 MFA) LA Times Review

Jan 21, 2014
LA Times Review
Spotlight Category: Alumni

(MFA '12 alumnus) Matt Lifson's paintings pregnant with possibilities at Angles Gallery

December 5, 2013 by Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times art critic

Five large paintings by Matt Lifson all show virtually the same enigmatic subject -- what appears to be a makeshift tent in the woods at night. But slight differences in tonality, lighting and paint-handling among the five generate unexpected responses.

Serial imagery, given its origins in Claude Monet's repeated studies of grain stacks and an imposing cathedral facade under different conditions of light and weather, tends to have a rather sunnier disposition than what turns up in Lifson's solo debut at Angles Gallery. Grim, even inexplicably creepy, his blue-black “Tent” paintings get you to scrutinize them like a detective at a crime scene.

As a cop would do, you try to create a narrative from pictorial fragments. Is that romantic moonlight illuminating the tent or a police helicopter's piercing searchlight?  Does the tent belong to a vacationing camper or, given what appears to be its improvised nature, a homeless person? Is it shelter from an impending storm?

What's that jagged, sharp-edged but indecipherable whitish object just beneath the fallen tree limb? And speaking of the limb, why do its branches appear to have been stripped?

Going from canvas to canvas (each is around 6 feet by 7 feet), distinctions that at first seem slight steadily grow more stark -- and inexplicably ominous. Spots of white light in the deep, dark indigo woods could be anything from fireflies to nocturnal stalkers. Subtitled with fragmentary musical phrases -- “Sleep in heavenly...” “Lay down my bones with the rocks and roots...,” etc. -- the bleak paintings firmly resist disclosure.

That's their strength: Lifson underscores the degree to which, encountering a picture, we project meanings onto it. These paintings are pregnant with possibilities, horrific or benign, which shift in and out of view across a wide range of emotional registers depending on a viewer's drifting thoughts. In today's picture-saturated world, no wonder things seem so daunting.

The show also includes a floor sculpture composed of 217 gilded bricks, each stamped with a cryptic symbol and laid out in a curve, plus three small folding tables with a depiction of a black jacket painted on peeling paper across each top. More compelling is a wall text in clear, nearly invisible vinyl, its Hebraic font style readable only as fleeting light falls across it. A description of a demon lurks in the text -- if not on the wall, then surely in your head.