28 April 2007

Now You See Her

Zeal, one of our graduate Fine Arts students made a brief appearance on the KNBC show "Your LA." She was participating in a group show at 626 Gallery and Wine Bar and the program highlighted the gallery as a place to check out in downtown.

27 April 2007

Them's Fightin' Words

At least that is what the Los Angeles Times would have you believe in their April 15th edition of the "Image" section. In what was clearly an attempt to create a rivalry that doesn't exist, the article "Ready to School You" pits the Fashion Design program at Otis against that of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising or FIDM as it is commonly known.

To their credit neither Rosemary Brantley, our Fashion chair, or Tonian Hohberg, founder and president of FIDM took the bait. In response to the reporter's question about a rivalry, Ms. Hohberg commented "There isn't a rivalry." Rose was even more succinct offering a simple and declarative "No."

While both schools offer education in Fashion and yes, both schools have had multiple contestants on Project Runway, their missions are appropriately different and the two co-exist quite peacefully.

FIDM seeks to place its students into the Fashion industry with a specific skill set and in a short amount of time. Their students complete one of the institute's associate degree programs and then head into entry level positions. Many also transfer to Otis to enroll in our Fashion program and earn their BFA. As a proprietary entity, FIDM has resources that I wish we had including additional funding for marketing and infrastructure. They also have the pressure that comes with being in the business of making a profit.

As a non-profit professional school of art and design, Otis does not share that burden. We routinely place our Fashion graduates as assistant designers with all the major labels and they regularly win, in fact sometimes sweep, major industry based scholarship competitions such like the ones sponsored by Council of Fashion Designers of America. When I talk with parents and prospective students about our program I say it is one of the very best in the world. Simple, straight-forward and true.

Los Angeles is fortunate to have two significant Fashion programs. There is no quarrel, no feud and no rivalry because there is no need for one.

21 April 2007

One Man- One Great Show

Done Suggs: One Man Group Show opened to a large and appreciative crowd on April 14th in Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery and it's receiving strong reviews.

In his Los Angeles Times piece, David Pagel said "At a time when the sheer volume of information available seems to swamp the individual's capacity to synthesize and discriminate — to think — 'One Man Group Show' stands out. It is a testament to open-minded curiosity and patient deliberation, to the value of individual activity in the face of all sorts of collective chicanery." He also seems to encourage multiple visits to the exhibition- "The complexity of Suggs' art makes an adventure of every visit, fueling one's sense of discovery and inviting further exploration. Every time you turn your head, there is something new to see...far from the streamlined, prepackaged experiences mainstream culture serves up."

Holly Myers of the LA Weekly reports that Suggs is "...all over the place- in a good way." She conducted a four hour interview with the artist in his Atwater Village studio, talking about his show at Otis, the upcoming solo show at LA Louver and his more than 30 years of teaching at UCLA and other universities- "Don Suggs has the verbal ease and subtle theatricality of one who’s accustomed to standing in front of a classroom." The article does a nice job of bridging the two shows- "Between the vertiginous bull’s-eye pattern, the delectable color, and the seductive sensuality of the oil paint (most modern concentric-circle paintings, Suggs is clear to point out, are acrylic), not looking is almost not an option with these paintings — or with most of the work in these two indefatigable 'group shows.' Looking, however, is only the beginning." -and providing us with a bit of Suggs' back story. A real treat since the artist has traditionally not been particularly enthusiastic about discussing his career.

Co-curated by the Weekly's art critic and Otis' Meg Linton, Doug Harvey, "One Man Group Show" runs through June 23rd. Sugg's show at LA Louver "Concentric" opens May 19th.

13 April 2007

Confounding the Conventional Exhibition

In his review in the May edition of Artillery magazine about the just closed Cindy Smith exhibition at Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery, Tucker Neal states that the showed worked because it was "powerful specifically because it confounds traditional essentialist exhibition tendencies." In his praise of Cindy's efforts he cites "Smith embraces this idea, takes it to a place where events, both real and imagined, exist on a similar playing field and in doing so encourages her viewers to question the entire notion of an archive..."

I think Cindy's project joins others such as The Museum of Jurassic Techonogly and Bill Burns' Safety Gear Museum for Small Animals in using a tongue in cheek approach to blurring the line between authentic and imagined. It will be interesting to see what follows next in this vein of art that does not rely on April Fools day to have a bit of fun with us.

Cindy Smith's "Moral Museum: Selections from the Bick Archive" was on display at Otis January 20 to March 31, 2007. A summary of the show is archived on the Ben Maltz website and a brochure is available from the Gallery.

12 April 2007

Jux the Facts for Suggs

May's edition of Juxtapoz Magazine includes a plug in the Events section (pg 130) for the Don Suggs exhibition in Otis' Ben Maltz Gallery (opens this Saturday 04-14-07). Somewhere between a "go see this" calendar listing and a reprinting of a press release , it includes a single photo and a brief description of the show.

The exhibition is also listed in the calender section of the magazine's website, offering an enhanced description and complete contact information.

04 April 2007

Rose Buzz

Rosemary Brantley- Tastemaker. That has a nice ring to it. As the founding chair of Otis' Fashion Design program, Rose has shepherded over a 1000 students through the program and into some of the most well known design houses in America (Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Eduardo Lucero ('87), John Varvatos to name a few).

Los Angeles Magazine has taken note, featuring Rose in the April issue (pg 72), noting her ability to continue to draw the biggest names and brands in Fashion to the College: "Brantley wrangles top designers (Isabel Toledo, Francisco Costa, Vera Wang) to guide students..." There is also a reference to the Scholarship Benefit Show, to be held this year on May 5th at the Beverly Hilton. The event features the best work by Otis' juniors and seniors and regularly raises over a million dollars for student scholarships.