Events
  • In his lecture, Laurence Rickels reenters the exchange between Walter Benjamin and Alexander Mette, which led to Mette’s review of Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels in Imago and brought Benjamin to consider the clinical picture of schizophrenia, the topic of Mette’s dissertation-book, which he in turn reviewed.

  • Artist Anna Craycroft, of the current exhibition Tuning the Room in Ben Maltz Gallery, in discussion with artist and curator Micah Silver.

  • Emily Thorpe's art work addresses the twisting formation of memory through spatial relations and moments of domesticity. She will be presenting a solo exhibition for her Graduate Thesis at The Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art & Design, on view February 20 to February 25, 2017. There will be a closing reception on Saturday, February 25, 6-9pm.

  • Solmaz Sharif

    Mar 01| Lectures
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    Solmaz Sharif’s first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press and is a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, Granta, Poetry, and other journals. Her first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press. A former Stegner Fellow, she is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area.

  • Brendan Folwer was born 1978, Berkeley, California and lives and works in Los Angeles. His solo exhibitions include New Portraits (2017), Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, Portraits (2016), Mathew, New York and New Pictures, Six Sampler Works, and Benches (2015), Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles.

  • One of two "Show and Tell" hands-on book events held inside the exhibition Tuning the Room in the Ben Maltz Gallery, featuring selections from the highly regarded Millard Sheets Library Artists’ Books Collection.

     

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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