Otis College of Art and Design logo
Events
  • High&Low Bureau is a curatorial duo composed of Yael Messer and Gilad Reich. They curate exhibitions, film programs, performative events and publications, while engaging with a plethora of disciplines, media and modes of artistic expression.Their curatorial practice is dedicated to the exploration of artistic strategies that reflect on, and suggest alternatives to, specific social-political conditions.

  • Los Angeles is a city often described as having no center. Its art community has turned that "disadvantage" into an advantage and given itself a license for adventure. Organizations, galleries, and artists find decentralization to be an exciting option and they establish their addresses in unexpected neighborhoods and zones in the city and even beyond, in other cities and states. What are the challenges and advantages of this programmatic and conceptual strategy? What are the risks, to organization and audience alike? Is this necessary, and if so, is it sustainable?

  • Fritz Haeg

    Sep 25| Lectures
    More

    Image: Fritz Haeg, working to install the Edible Estate #12 garden in Budapest, 2012. Photo: Andras Kare.

    Graduate Fine Arts, Visiting Artist Lecture Series presents artist, Fritz Haeg.

    Thursday, September 25th 11:15am - 12:30pm

    Graduate Studios: 10455 Jefferson Blvd Culver City CA 90230

  • David Schafer

    Sep 30| Lectures
    More

    David Schafer is a visual and sound artist working in sculpture, sound, sound, performance, and works on paper. His work is concerned with the structures, translation, and intelligibility, of language and architecture. Schafer has shown nationally and internationally and has received several public commissions. Most recently he has had one-person shows at Studio10 gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, and Glendale College Art Gallery, Glendale, CA.

  • Sarah Manguso

    Oct 01| Lectures
    More

    Sarah Manguso is the author, most recently, of The Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend, named one of the top ten books of the year by Salon. Her previous book, the memoir The Two Kinds of Decay, was named an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times Sunday Book Review and short-listed in the UK for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and long-listed for the Royal Society Winton Prize. Her other books include the story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape, and the poetry collections Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise.

  • Graduate Fine Arts, Visiting Artist Lecture Series presents artist, Jennifer Steinkamp.

    Thursday, October 2nd 11:15am - 12:30pm

    Graduate Studios: 10455 Jefferson Blvd Culver City CA 90230

     

  • Pae White

    Oct 07| Lectures
    More

    Pae White was born in 1963 in Pasadena, California. She lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her M.F.A. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and her B.A. from Scripps College in Claremont, California. She also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Recent solo exhibition venues include Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; galleria francesca kaufmann, Milan; the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand; the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; greengrassi, London; and 1301PE, Los Angeles.

O-Tube

Literary L.A.

May 12, 2014
Spotlight Category: Faculty

Memory and Daily Life in the Invisible City

By Paul Vangelisti, Founding Chair, Graduate Writing

 

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A.

 

I must begin by mentioning the debt of gratitude I owe the Parisian poet Mohammed Dib, who consistently made me aware that L.A. was indeed the Invisible City, borrowing from me, as it were, the title for my literary magazine, Invisible City, which I edited with John McBride from 1971–82. During his stay in L.A., Dib would often smile capriciously and ask, as the afternoon began to cool, if it weren’t time to set off in my Datsun sedan and visit our invisible city, so that we might add to our “petites histoires.”

Poetry, for me, then, issues from the invisible city, the big nowhere that is L.A. Ours is a city of “theatrical impermanence,” as Christopher Isherwood called it, the home of tautological architecture where hot dog and hamburger and donut stands take on the shape of hot dogs and hamburgers and donuts, where at any given time only a little more than onethird of the population has lived there for more than five years. L.A. is blessed, in Tennessee Williams’ words, with “wonderful rocking horse weather, and a curious light so mesmerizing that, as Orson Welles once noted, ‘You sit down, you’re twenty-five, and when you get up, you’re sixty-two.‘” It functions, according to the poet Thomas McGrath, as the “Asia Minor of the intellect,” a place where, in the immortal words of the legendary producer Irving Thalberg (namesake for the Academy’s Oscar for “life-time achievement”), the writer is no less than “a necessary evil.” L.A. is also a place that has afforded writers and artists, to borrow a phrase from long-time resident Igor Stravinsky, “splendid isolation.” Memory in so willfully forgetful a place is critical, defining an almost palpable dimension of daily life, which is all the more vivid in contrast to the perpetual elsewhere that best describes one’s writing practice there.

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A. Time, for instance, may function as a property of light, a perpetual present or “timelessness” in close relationship to the peculiarly isolate and meditative light that is the single most distinguishing characteristic of our city. “Lots and lots of light–and no shadows,” notes artist Robert Irwin, “Really peculiar, almost dreamlike.”

I am suggesting that a preoccupation with our daily bread is a poet’s attempt to ground his or her work if not exactly in some form of realism, at least in a realistic attitude or position within this wacky environment. Lacking the public occasion and certainly the public form for serious literature—museums and other educational and public institutions in our city are hardly more than specimen boxes in today’s cultural marketplace—some poets instinctively employ the daily to create a context for their work, social, dramatic or otherwise. In a city where the image is considered truthful, and entrepreneurs the likes of (fill in the name of whatever current pop culture boss) are discussed in university and college classrooms as creative geniuses, a poet may look to his or her own isolated daily life to fashion a background against which language may be given room for serious play.

 

Editor’s Note:
This piece is excerpted from a longer essay that first appeared in Seeing Los Angeles: A Different Look at a Different City, edited by Guy Bennett and Beatrice Mousli; Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2007 Graduate Writing faculty member Martha Ronk’s poems also appeared in this publication.

 

Image: Sumi-e drawing by Les Biller

Tags