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.


Whitney BIennial includes Otis alumnus and faculty member

John Mason, Joel Otterson

The Whitney Museum's Biennial opens Friday, March 7, and includes work by alumnus John Mason ('57) and faculty member Joel Otterson. Both artists blur the difference between art and craft.

Mason's abstract clay sculptures completed over the last six decades have contributed to changing the medium. From 1957-1965, Mason focused on exploring the physical properties of clay—its possibilities as well as its limitations, constantly experimenting with plasticity, pushing clay to its technical limits, and developing innovative firing techniques. His tall vertical sculptures, huge wall reliefs, cross forms and geometric shapes explore symmetry, rotation, mass, and the integration of color and form. His interest in primitive art is manifested in the mysterious and totemic quality of many of his works. L.A. art critic Suzanne Muchnic, writing for ArtNews, describes his position: “A major figure in ceramic sculpture, Mason emerged in the mid-1950s as one of the leaders of a revolution that transformed clay from a craft to a fine art medium … In his latest work, Mason has proved himself a master builder and sculptor who knows how to get the most out of a relatively simple three-dimensional form.”  As John Coplans writes, “he is not only capable of endowing his massive images with a rich complexity of associative values, but in helping to free ceramics from its long tradition of vessel form and intimate scale he has persuasively demonstrated the flexibility of a hitherto limited material.”


Joel Otterson scours swap meets for found objects that become part of his assemblages. For the past 30 years, he has made sculpture that combines aspects of domestic handicraft with traditional sculptural materials such as copper pipe, woodworking, pottery, porcelain, china, earthenware, concrete, marble, and stained glass. Using quilting, lacemaking, and sewing, traditionally associated with feminine crafts, Joel turns these humble materials into muscular art. He was one of the youngest artists ever selected for a one-person exhibition in the Projects Room of the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y. (1987), and has been included in both the 1993 Venice Biennale, and "Made in L.A," the first California biennial held at the Hammer Museum, L.A. "Brancusi would be one of my favorite artists and influences. I make everything myself. I also love decorative arts, furniture, dinnerware, and architecture, because it’s all about living. My influences are eclectic, and for me it speaks about our “postmodern” world and especially about being American. I am very interested in how an inanimate object can trigger an emotion."