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Events
  • Otis Books is pleased to publish Tim Erickson’s debut collection of poetry, Egopolis, a textual journey through destruction, resistance, city, and the Ego, from ancient times to the present day. Erickson’s work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Salt Anthology of New Writing. He lives in Salt Lake City.

  • Otis Graduate Writing students will read from their works-in-progress.

  • Exquisite Beauty is the first retrospective and publication to document the eye-dazzling ceramics created by Ralph Bacerra (1938–2008), a Los Angeles–based artist known for his innovative approach to surface embellishment. Curated by Jo Lauria, the exhibition features more than ninety of the artist’s finest pieces—dramatic, highly decorated vessels and sculptures that have never before been the focus of a major exhibition or publication.

  • Opening Reception for Ralph Bacerra: Exquisite Beauty

  • David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and currently teaches at USC. He is the author of the novels Little, The Hiawatha, The Translation of Dr. Apelles, named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, as well as a critical work, Native American Fiction: A User's Manual. In 2012, he published another nonfiction work, Rez Life.

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.

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Norman Zammitt

Norman ZammittNorman ZammittNorman Zammitt

 

Norman Zammitt was (1931-2007) raised on the Mohawk [Caughnawaga Indian] reservation near Montreal. After serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, he returned to America, graduated from Pasadena City College in 1957, and earned his MFA ('61) from Otis in 1961. He taught art at California Institute of the Arts, USC, and UCLA during his long career as an artist.

His often mural-sized works can now be found in private collections as well as at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirschhorn Collection, and the Corcoran Gallery. His straight-edge style suggested mathematics and engineering, some reviewers observed; others posited that the ethereal element in his art seemed to rise up out of the geometry by intention. Often his work was said to create a “meditative mood.”

“Zammitt crafted meticulous bands of color in subtle gradations and shades in his paintings,” noted the Los Angeles Times. “Many of them evoke sunsets, deserts and other scenes in nature. And according to Carol Eliel, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “[Zammitt] translated the light and landscape of California to paint. He wanted to include the more spiritual aspects of the California landscape in his work.”

Still, Eliel notes that Zammitt’s art didn’t fit neatly into a single school or movement, though his interest in capturing light and space related his work to that of such artists as Larry Bell and Robert Irwin (’50). At the same time, his precision and a preference for sleek surfaces related his creations to the art of Billy Al Bengston (‘57), among other Otis-trained California artists who rose to prominence in the 1970s.

Of his art, Zammitt once wrote to an Otis colleague: “The artist’s first responsibility is to his own truth. For me, art is a responsibility to myself, to my own sincere thoughts. To keep in contact with that is a constant struggle. […] To recreate an old form or create a new form is not necessarily the most important concern. Form should be a result, a sincere statement of integrity; form happens as part of a desire to make a statement straight from the heart. Form seems to always be there, and the need to express it becomes stronger and stronger. Each expression does not slowly exhaust the source, but on the contrary, the artist cannot keep up with what he has to say. […] For me, this has become a way of life. I never planned it to be this way, but I am glad about it. Nothing else makes me feel more right, more my own self.”

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