Events
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen’s bestselling novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, and a Carnegie Medal from the American Library Association. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Nguyen is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America and Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.

  • Tonya Foster

    Sep 21| Lectures
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    Poet Tonya Foster is the author of the collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court. Her work has appeared in nocturnes, Callaloo, Traffic, Gulf Coast, and other journals. Her essays have appeared in NY Arts Magazine, NYFA Quarterly and The Poetry Project Newsletter. A co-editor of Third Mind: Teaching Creative Writing Through Visual Art, Foster teaches at California College of the Arts and lives in the Bay Area.

  • Steven Ehrlich and Frederick Fisher will present their firms’ collaboration as EHRLICH | FISHER on Otis College’s new Goldsmith Campus Academic Building and Residence Hall. The campus-wide expansion and renovation project includes a new academic building, 300-seat Forum (the venue for this lecture), café and dining commons, Student Life Center, and residence hall.

     

  • Opening Reception

    Sep 24| Special Event
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    New York-based artist Polly Apfelbaum’s work has situated itself as a hybrid of painting, sculpture, and installation over a career spanning 30 plus years. Exploring the intricacies of color, Apfelbaum weaves her way, both literally and conceptually, through ideas of Minimalism, Pop aesthetics, and Color Field painting to blur the lines between two and three dimensional art making.

  • Artist Polly Apfelbaum in conversation with Connie Butler, within Apfelbaum's exhibition Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

     

  • John Keene

    Oct 05| Lectures
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    John Keene is the author of the novels Annotations and Counternarratives, as well as several other works, including the poetry collection Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse, and a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer. The recipient of a Whiting Award, Keene has been a member of the Dark Room Writers Collective and a Cave Canem fellow. He has served as the managing editor of Callaloo and taught at Northwestern. He currently teaches at Rutgers University-Newark and lives in New York.

  • Artist Polly Apfelbaum in conversation with David Pagel, within Apfelbaum's exhibition Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

     

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Short History of the Artists' Books Collection at Otis

Artists' books are exceptionally varied and creative by their very nature. The complex medium employs the book, in any of its various guises (scroll, codex, fold-out or single sheet boxed, to name but a few forms of books) as an original work of art. They usually integrate the formal means of conception and production with aesthetic or thematic aspects. Artists' books are considered unique works of art in one-of-a-kind or small edition multiples. Some now are mass produced. The variety of its form makes the artist book difficult to define. The twentieth century witnessed particularly varied and creative experimentation with artists' books culminating with an expansion of the medium in the '60 and '70s. California became a center of production.

The collection of artists' books at Otis College of Art and Design began and grew significantly during this period due largely to the efforts of librarian Joan Hugo, a recognized expert in artists' books. The Otis Library's current collection is approximately 2,300 works. Among the holdings are books by important contemporary artists such as Ed Ruscha and Joseph Beuys as well as work by recent graduates of MFA programs in the book arts such as Sarah Bryant and Daniel Mellis.

The collection also includes books made by Otis students in the Laboratory Press, which was begun by Sheila de Bretteville, Chair of the Communication Design and Illustration Department at Otis/Parsons from 1980-1990. Susan King, Simon Toparovsky, Cynthia Marsh, and Katherine Ng, all important book artists, were among the faculty over the years. This is a unique collection of books, often produced in editions of 2 or 3, with particularly good examples of innovative structures, excellent typography, and interesting content.

The goal of the Otis Artists' Book Collection is not to create a comprehensive archive, but rather to provide a valuable teaching resource available to artists and students. Since the collection is available on only a limited basis, providing access to the books via an online image database is a continuing project, one that we hope will assist those with interest in researching our collection as well as the medium in general.

 

History of Artists' Books

Sue Maberry, Director of Otis Library
Cathy Chambers, Catalog Librarian
Heather Cleary, Visual Resources Librarian