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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.


Contemporary Perspectives

Researching Concepts

A successful Contemporary Project is dependent on finding good material to use, then organizing, and communicating that material to your classmates. You may need to do some additional research and reading about your class themes (e.g. Transnationalism, Gender, Body). This type of problem-based research and learning requires a lot more creativity and critical thinking than simply researching an artist by name.
Please look carefully at the example below to see how the research process can be used to help generate ideas and focus your topic. The following citations found in Art Index and OmniFile

Example: transnationalism AND (art OR design) (more on Boolean syntax)
Other terms or related topics which could be good alternative keywords for your project on transnationalism. Notice especially which terms are used in the subject fields.
Running List of Ideas
(interesting possible keywords and concepts to investigate further)

The Spirit of the Ancestors: The Photography and Installation Art of Albert Chong and Wura-Natasha Ogunji postcolonial



African influences

specific artists: Chong, Ogunji
SOURCE: Canadian Woman Studies v. 23 no. 2 (Winter 2004) p. 14-20
ABSTRACT: Part of a special issue on women and the black diaspora. The writer investigates the photography and installation art of the African diaspora. She argues that this visual art is embodied in a set of assumptions that stems primarily from the contexts of ritual and scared spaces, postcolonial urban struggles, and transnationalism.

Abstract photograph
Environment (Art)
Black art - African influences
Chong, Albert, 1958-
Ogunji, Wura-Natasha

TITLE: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew's "Alien": Copy with a Difference




artist: Matthew

Bollywood (or India)






motion picture posters

ethnic identity 

SOURCE: Meridians v. 6 no. 1 (2005) p. 82-110
ABSTRACT: Part of a special issue on feminism, race, and transnationalism. The writer analyzes two photographic works by Annu Palakunnathu Matthew: Bollywood Satirized, 1998-2001, and An Indian from India, 2001. The two series are particularly interesting in the way they identify and communicate a counterhegemonic position on diaspora and transnational identities and coalitions: The former rereads Bollywood's popular culture, and the latter calls into question the archives and rationale of Western identity formation. The two agendas are linked in that they enable the feminist political exposure of globalization's transcultural depoliticizing agenda. They express Matthew's activist challenge because both these interventionist photographic collages politicize the postmodern.

India in art
Feminism and photography
Motion picture posters in art
East Indian Americans - Ethnic identity
Matthew, Annu Palakunnathu

TITLE: Crossings: Transnational Echoes and the Proximity of Distance

international artists







identity in art


SOURCE: Third Text no. 46 (Spring 1999) p. 97-100
ABSTRACT: A review of "Crossings," an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, from August 7 to November 1, 1998. The show consisted of installations by 15 international artists, most of whom work and live in places other than that of their birth. Rather than the modernist "linear" crossings from origin to destination, local to global, or authentic to unauthentic, the artistic and curatorial work rendered an ambivalent multiplicity of criss-crossings that radically de-essentialized ideas of place, home, origin, and identity. The show successfully unsettled the relationship between the national and international and resonated with echoes of transnationalism and transculturalism.
SUBJECTS: International exhibitions
Identity in art - Exhibitions
Installations (Art) - Exhibitions

Helpful Research Facts

You may want to review the guides and tutorials found through the Information Literacy link on every library webpage. A very good Art History Writing Guide is available from University of NC at Chapel Hill.

Using the Otis Online Databases

The Library subscribes to many full-text databases that will lead you to good sources that you can use for you project. For this project, the Librarian recommends: NEW Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Art Source, EBSCO OmniFile, E-Library, and Proquest.

Locating Older Journal Articles

You won't always find everything online in full-text. You may need to find an article in a print version of a periodical. The Otis collection of back issues of journals and magazines is quite good. The Library has hundreds of bound volumes of back issues. Some are in the Stacks and some in Annex, which requires paging. Check the Otis holdings to see exactly what we have and where it's kept.

Assistance Is Readily Available

The librarians and the library staff are your friends. Ask for reference or computer troubleshooting any time. The SRC also has tutors available to assist you with the writing of papers. Start early so that you will have time to avail yourself of these services. We all want to support your learning experience.