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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.


Danny Phillips and Kim Karlsrud

Danny Phillips and Kim Karlsrud


Phillips ('08 Architecture/Landscape/Interiors) and Karlsrud ('07 Product Design) met when they were students, and started their Greenaid project, Guerrilla Gardening, shortly after graduating. “Johnny Appleseeds for the 21st Century” is how Fast Company described their seed bomb project, a grass roots campaign to raise public awareness as well as reveal and remedy issues of spatial inequity. Across Los Angeles and in Europe, Greece, Canada and Mexico, residents find repurposed gum ball machines that dispense seed bombs (a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds), for 25 cents, and toss them into derelict urban spaces such as vacant lots and median strips. Karlsrud and Phillips co-founded COMMONstudio, a design practice that has "an interdisciplinary approach to objects, systems, tools, and spaces, with an emphasis on urban ecology, social enterprise, and adaptive reuse."

They returned to Otis to teach “Design for Social Impact,” in which students sourced local materials and industrial scraps, conducted lifecycle analyses, and creatively employed the ethics and aesthetics of “doing more with less.” Site partners included TOMS Shoes and the Boys and Girls Club in East L.A. As Karlsrud explains, “It’s no longer about designers going into third world countries and working with craft communities to make $3,000 coffee mugs.” Instead, students used reclaimed materials from the garment district or bike shop inner tubes, and transformed them functionally and aesthetically.

In 2011, they collaborated with classmate Aaron Maninang ('07 Fashion Design), a designer at Brooklyn Industries, to create the Seed Dress and Seed Bracelet for Earth Day. They received a Core 77 award for their Educational Initiative D3 (Dream It, Design it, Do It) at Nightingale Middle School, Cypress Park, L.A.