Emily Roysdon’s “Sense and Sense”

Emily Roysdon’s “Sense and Sense”

From Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary minimalist designs, the grid has been a tool artists use to organize space, time, composition and performance.

But what does it mean to perform on parallel, perpendicular and intersecting lines?

The Otis College of Art and Design exhibit “Performing the Grid” explores how various artists — conceptual artist Bruce Nauman for one, choreographer Lucinda Childs for another — have used this compositional tool to inform their creative practices.

Laban-inspired movement works by Kelly Nipper and film-inspired sculptures by Heather Rowe are also on display along with video, performance documentation, sound, sculpture, painting and installation by the likes of Neil Beloufa, Sol LeWitt, Charles Gaines and Philip Glass.

The inaugural exhibit curated by newly minted Otis Director of Galleries and Exhibitions Kate McNamara, “Performing the Grid” also kicks off a series of free campus events focused on the intersection of geometry and performance.

On Feb. 7, artist Debra McCall screens her critically acclaimed 1986 film “Bauhaus Dances” about reconstructing Oskar Schlemmer’s 1920s dances at the famed German design institute. On March 8, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor of Art History Hannah Higgins discusses her 2009 publication “The Grid Book,” which examines the history and impact of grids across the world. And on April 10, performance artist MPA lectures on the politics of the body and performance in “Interrupting the Grid.”

Perhaps the grid isn’t a square concept after all.

— Christina Campodonico

“Performing the Grid” opens with a free reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, and continues through May 15 at Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery, 9045 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester. Lectures and screenings will be held at the Otis Forum, Ahmanson Hall. Call (310) 665-6800 or visit otis.edu.