Otis College

Peter’s Auction Pick of the Day: Otis College and the Ceramic Revolution

May 14, 2015

Otis College Ceramics, Los Angeles Modern Auctions, May 17, 2015 Auction

The Los Angeles County Art Institute, which became the Otis College of Art and Design, was at the center of ceramic’s evolution as an artistic medium in America. In 1954 Peter Voulkos became head of its ceramics department. He brought with him energy, strength and a bold streak influenced by Abstract Expressionism–all new elements for the discipline. The kilns at Otis College became the launching pad for the new ceramic artistry. Voulkos’s students and colleagues joined the signal artistic movements of the sixties and seventies.

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design:

Ceramics came into its own as a fine art form in the 1950s. Clay had been regarded as a second-class medium–more artisanal than artistic.

The crucible of that change was the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, in the ceramics studio headed by Peter Voulkos. LAMA’s May 17th auction includes a wonderful group of lots featuring the work of Voulkos and his colleagues and students–every significant artist at the heart of that revolution, including Paul Soldner, John Mason, Henry Takemoto, Ken Price, and Billy Al Bengston.

LA Sculptor Joel Otterson is a Jack-of-all-trades

February 18, 2015

Lot 223, Joel Otterson, American Portable Pottery Museum (Wall of China), 1994

Los Angeles contemporary artist Joel Otterson is a maker in the old tradition–his materials of choice are copper pipe, pottery, earthenware, concrete, marble, and stained glass; and he also works in quilting, lace making, and woodworking. But his works’ ironic arrangements and pithy titles are wholly au courant. Otterson describes his practice: “My work is loud, and I want it to yell at people.” In this boisterous example on offer March 1, American Portable Pottery Museum (Wall of China) (1994), the artist makes a wry and pointed comment on current global manufacturing practices.

BID AND FOLLOW ON THE LAMA APP