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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.


How to Broaden or Narrow Your Topic

Students often remark that it is sometimes more difficult to find a lot of information in databases. Databases ARE smaller than the the entire world of web information, but the results will likely be more relevant and relaible. 

But you need to learn how each database interface works. And you'll need to learn how to broaden or narrow your focus.

How to Narrow A Topic

Ask Yourself Questions About Your Topic:

  • What do you know about it? What don't you know?
  • What aspects of your topic interest you: historical, sociological, psychological, etc.?
  • What time period do you want to cover?
  • On what geographic region do you want to focus?
  • What kind of information do you need?
    • A brief summary or a lengthy explanation?
    • Periodical articles, books, essays, encyclopedia articles?
    • Statistics?

Example: I'm thinking of doing a paper on an environmental subject. This topic could develop in many different ways.

General Topic: the environment
Time span: 1960s to the present
Place: oceans, Los Angeles
Person or group: organizations working on the issues
Event or Aspects: behavior; sociological; changes


How to Broaden Your Topic

Example: I'm doing a paper about a particular artist who graduated from Otis

This topic as stated may not have many many articles yet written about it. How can this be turned into a more manageable topic?

Look for  broader associations:

  • Could you examine a movement or type of art the artist is associated with?
  • Could you think broadly about the success of art school graduates -- what might these be?
  • What other issues are involved in this topic? Such as, artists as teachers.
Specific Topic: Robert Glover, ceramics artist
Alternate focus: Ceramics artists

Alternate Place:

California, the U.S.

Focus on a Person or Group:

Post WWI art movement, ceramics programs in a specific college, California artists, ceramics in terms of crafts vs. fine arts
Focus on an Event or Aspect: Getty Pacific Standard Time initiative, an exhibition about "Clay in L.A.:


And there's always this option: Ask a reference librarian!