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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.


Introduction to Visual Culture

This assignment is no longer in use. (7/15/14)


Step 1:

This is the first Otis course where you will be required to learn and use research skills. The Librarian recommends that you the investigate the tutorials located on the Information Literacy Tutorials page.

Step 2:

Pick an artist/designer/maker and work from the following list. List of Artists/Designers

Step 3:

Read each assignment carefully. Understand what's expected. You will be creating an Annotated Bibliography to cite and evaluate each source you use. Take notes as you do your research. Use a citation formatter such as Easybib.com for the actual citation. Sample Annotations.

Step 4:

Learn how to use the Library's OPAC or online catalog. Find at least one book that includes information about your artist/designer/maker. Do a keyword search first to get an overview of what's available in the Otis Library. Remember, there will probably be more than one student researching each artist/maker and the number of books is limited. Start early with your research and be considerate of others.

In a few cases, you may be lucky enough to find an entire chapter or book about one work, but more likely you will not. Your goal for this step should be to find substantial information about your artist/maker and the context in which they worked.

Step 5:

Find two or more periodical articles. Start with EBSCO Art Source available through the databases link. (It searches 2 different databases at the same time--Art Source and Omni.) Try a key word search. If you get too many hits, limit searching to subject only. That way you'll exclude smaller mentions of your artist/maker. Some of the citations will be to the full-text of the article and some will lead you to the actual magazine.

Other good possible databases with full-text articles are ProQuest, JSTOR and eLibrary. Each database interface is different and you'll need time to familiarize yourself with how they work. It's good practice for future research.

For those articles which are not "full-text," please check the Otis Library Magazine Holding List to see if we carry it. We have back issues of many art/design periodicals, so many will be available to you in print form. In either case, it will be helpful to look at the actual publication because writing the required annotation requires finding out more about the writer, editor, or magazine. Anyway, as art and design students, you will want to become familiar with as many of the periodicals as you can.

Warning! Don't try to do this step using a search engine on the free web. For this assignment, you are required to use the Otis subscription databases. We require it because we want you to become familiar with them. From experience, we know that a great deal of reliable information will be found there.

Step 6:

If you also want to use the free web, you may. If you do, search for a content-rich academic/educational websites about your artist/designer/maker. Searching the web can be overwhelming. Too much information may, in fact, be more trouble than not enough.

Pages ending in .org or .edu may be good ones, but make sure the author is not a student doing a class assignment or just a syllabus. Undergraduate college students are not considered "experts" in the field of art history. Try to find something written by a curator, museum professional, professional editor, or faculty member. It may be difficult to find the author's credentials. There are some tricks to this and we are happy to help you with this step. If you want to refine your skills or you are having trouble, go to the Library and talk with Sue Maberry, the Librarian. Finding information is her expertise.

Step 7:

Once you've found everything and read it, you're ready to type up your Annotated Bibliography. Use the categories described in Types of Information for your annotations. Remember to use MLA style for the citation portion. Many of the databases have a Cite button where they will provide the citation to the article in whatever style you need.

Step 8:

The librarians and the library staff are your friends. Ask for reference or computer troubleshooting assistance any time. You're not bothering us. Really.

The SRC has tutors available to assist you with the writing and word processing. Start early so that you will have time to avail yourself of these services. We are all committed to supporting your learning experience.

Helpful Links

List of Artists/Designers

Library Visit Worksheet

Citing Sources

Sample Annotations

ORE Form Helpful when preparing annotations

Types of Information

CRAAP Detection



Art History Tutoring Schedule

Student Resource Center

Art History Tutoring

Jeanne S. M. Willette in the SRC

Wednesday: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Thursday: 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Student-Recommended Citation Formatters


Citation Machine

KnightCite from Calvin College

Online Writing Help