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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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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."