Category: Otis College of Art and Design

Art reviews: 'Common Ground,' AMOCA; 'Clay's Tectonic Shift,' Scripps

February 8, 2012 |  3:00 pm

Ken Price, "S.L. Green"
The soul-shattering shock of World War II rattled American art to its core. From the ashes of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, humanity's wartime collapse into barbarism propelled a roiling wave of artistic urges aimed at starting over. Two absorbing museum shows lay out a critical part of the story.

One is a sprawling survey that beautifully articulates the breadth and diversity of postwar studio ceramics, charting how they came to be. The other is more closely focused, homing in on the potent artistic revolution that grew from the larger context. Together they unfold one of the most distinctive tributaries of American art being chronicled in the raft of postwar Southern California exhibitions presented under the Getty-sponsored umbrella of Pacific Standard Time.

Perhaps nothing better expresses the prescient yearning for renewal than a 1944 Surrealist painting by Russian immigrant Mark Rothko. "Slow Swirl By the Edge of the Sea" is a hallucinatory vision of spindly, archaic forms rising up from the vapors of the primordial ooze. Painting was powerful, a sophisticated visual language in which those fundamental urges could be spoken. Yet it had its limitations. Painting wasn't omnipresent at human society's inception.

Pottery, on the other hand, was. Pottery was global in its origins, the material of the earth shaped by prehistoric humankind from the Red Sea to the Yellow River to the Rio Grande. And pottery as a primary postwar vehicle flourished nowhere more than in Los Angeles.

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Revisiting the Woman's Building with Sheila de Bretteville

January 14, 2012 | 10:00 am

The Woman’s Building closed its doors in 1991, but Otis College of Art and Design has tried to keep something of its spirit alive.

Early teachers at the feminist center like Suzanne Lacy have helped to shape the Otis curriculum. And former Woman’s Building project manager Sue Maberry, now the director of library and information services at Otis, helped the college acquire a good part of the Woman’s Building archives a decade ago.

So it wasn’t entirely surprising that Otis decided for Pacific Standard Time to stage a show on the history of this then-scrappy, now-storied institution: “Doin’ It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building,” which runs through Feb. 26.
Click here for an interview with Otis gallery director Meg Linton and Sheila de Bretteville, a co-founder of the Woman’s Building who led the graphic design center.

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John Baldessari: Early years in Southern California [video]

October 6, 2011 |  7:30 pm


On Tuesday evening, John Baldessari joined Times art critic Christopher Knight at the Hammer Museum for a public conversation about his art and career.

During the next few days, we'll be posting video highlights from the discussion here on Culture Monster. In the first clip, which you can view after the jump, Baldessari talks about growing up and starting his career in National City, near San Diego.

"I thought my life would be just, like, teaching public schools to support myself -- you know, painting when I could on weekends," he explained. "I thought that would pretty much be it."

Of course, there was much more to come, though he didn't know it at the time. Today, Baldessari is considered to be among the top-ranking conceptual artists in the world. His creations cover photography, video, installation -- but mostly the gray areas in between where the different forms blend together into hybrids.

Tuesday's talk, part of the Hammer Conversations series, was tied to the recent launch of Pacific Standard Time, the regionwide series of exhibitions sponsored by the Getty focusing on the Southern California art scene from 1945 to 1980.

Here's our first clip from our talk with John Baldessari...

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Arto Lindsay and Rirkrit Tiravanija guide parade of 'Trespassers'

September 30, 2011 | 12:57 pm


Nobody does it quite like Barbara Kruger, but dozens of artists have penned slogans for the music/dance/art/activism mash-up known as the Trespass Parade, taking place downtown this Sunday. The artists each wrote one-liners printed on T-shirts to be worn at the parade.

Learn to dream, says John Baldessari.
Mend the roads with the ruins of churches, says Lisa Anne Auerbach.
They only call it class war when we fight back, says Sam Durant.
The revolution is my boyfriend, says Vaginal Davis.
Talk is cheap/free speech is priceless, says Barbara Kruger
Less oil/more courage, says one of three designs by Rirkrit Tiravanija, who was a guiding spirit of the event along with musician Arto Lindsay.

A group of high school students from Roosevelt Senior and South Gate high schools who also wrote slogans will join many of these artists in the procession. Other participants include Nancy Buchanan, Dawn Kasper, KILLSONIC, Joel Kyack, Sylvère Lotringer, Ann Magnuson and My Barbarian as well as some art students from USC, CalArts, Art Center, Otis and UCLA.

"The idea was to do something really participatory inspired by Rirkrit's practice--something very inclusive and about collaboration," says organizer Emi Fontana of West of Rome.

As for the anti-capitalist thrust of some of the slogans, Fontana says the event is "a sort of hybrid between a parade and a demonstration, a parade and a march. It has both elements." She expects the event to have the jagged energy of downtown L.A. itself: "I think downtown represents a sort of broken dream of Los Angeles being a real city on the European or New York model. But of course it is something else--the first really contemporary city in the West."

The parade, an official kickoff event of Pacific Standard Time, begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday at 1933 S.  Broadway  and wraps up at MOCA and REDCAT. The following night an artist-packed benefit party will take place at Union Station, complete with parade footage, to raise money for Fontana's nonprofit public art organization West of Rome. See the website for specific parade route and benefit information.


Pacific Standard Time makes a bid for L.A. in art history

Pacific Standard Time: Artists on the verge

Complete coverage of Pacific Standard Time

--Jori Finkel

Photo: T-shirt by Rirkrit Tiravanija. Credit: West of Rome

Revisiting the work of June Wayne, who died this week at 93

August 25, 2011 | 10:31 am

It's one thing to read that the intelligent, eloquent and generally fearless artist June Wayne, who died this week at age 93, was a hub figure in the growing L.A. art scene of last century. It's another to see her deeply textured and spirited work, from lithography to tapestry, for yourself.

Local museum-goers will have the chance to do so this October when the museum behemoth Pacific Standard Time, meant to celebrate the birth of the Southern California art scene, kicks into high gear. Culture Monster has confirmed that these five Pacific Standard Time shows will include Wayne's work in one form or another.

"Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California" at the Norton Simon Museum. Opens Oct. 1.

"Doin' It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman's Building" at the Ben Maltz Gallery of the Otis College of Art and Design. Opens Oct. 1.

"Artistic Evolution: Southern California Artists at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1945-1963" at the Natural History Museum. Opens Oct. 2.

"Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center" at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Opens Dec. 15.

"L.A. Raw: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Opens Jan. 22.

— Jori Finkel

June Wayne dies at 93; led revival of fine-art printmaking

Her mellow? Not a chance

Photo: Times image of June Wayne in her Hollywood studio, 1989.


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