Talking to Action investigates contemporary, community-based social art practices in the United States and throughout Latin America while attempting to build a direct dialogue with artists and researchers across the hemisphere to discuss shared concerns. Talking to Action focuses on the collaborative, dialogically-based form of art making that is most often referred to as “social practice” with roots in public practice, community-based, participatory, relational and socially-engaged art. Consequently, the artists in Talking to Action explore a range of trans-disciplinary practices, blurring the lines between object making, political and environmental activism, community organizing, and performance.
The projects interrogate issues including migration and memory, critical mapping and cartographic practices, environmental issues and policies, gender rights and legislation, indigenous culture, racial violence and policing tactics and are often produced in collaboration with particular communities in rural or urban environments in politically charged contexts. The title, Talking to Action, underscores the discursive nature of these artists’ practices and their efforts to instigate greater public attention, community participation and political action towards such issues.
Comprised of sculptures, drawings, photography, videos, banners, and more, Talking to Action is an entirely bi-lingual exhibition (Spanish and English) which presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of these often over-looked yet extraordinary works within the field of art while working directly with activists and artists across the region. Additionally, hosting art spaces are asked to contribute a new, localized project at each site on the tour, engendering not only a set of touring objects, but a platform to engage and explore related relationships and problematics that Talking to Action addresses.
Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas is curated by Bill Kelley, Jr., Curator and Lead Researcher. Karen Moss is Consulting Curator. Talking to Action is organized by Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. The tour of the exhibition is a collaboration between ICI; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; the Sullivan Galleries of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago; Arizona State University in Tempe. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support of the Getty Foundation, PST: LA/LA presenting sponsor Bank of America, the ICI Board of Trustees and ICI’s International Forum.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a fully illustrated catalogue published by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, edited by Bill Kelley Jr. with Rebecca Zamora, featuring contributions by María Fernanda Cartagena, David Gutiérrez Castañeda, Grant Kester, André Mesquita, Karen Moss, Jennifer Ponce de León, and Paulina Varas among others.