Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas

  • BijaRi on the rooftops of Santo Domingo as part of the intervention project Contando con Nosotros, 2011. Digital photo. Encuentro Internacional de Medellín MDE11. Museo de Antioquia.

  • Clara Ianni and Débora Maria da Silva, Apelo [Plea], 2014, film still. Courtesy of Clara Ianni.

  • Suzanne Lacy, Men read from the letters and experiences of Ecuadorian women in the Plaza Belmonte bullring as part of the performance De tu puño y letra (By Your Own Hand), November 25, 2015. Photo: Patricio Estevez.

  • Alfadir Luna, El Señor del Maíz, 2012. Chromogenic print. Photo: Anayatzin Ortiz. Colección Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey.

  • SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada) [Abandoned Railways Exploration Probe], On the tracks with the Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba) volcano in the background, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artists.

  • Talking to Action, installation view, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, 2019. Photo by Craig Smith, Courtesy of ASU Art Museum.

Curated by Bill Kelley Jr.

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.


Bill Kelley Jr.

Bill Kelley Jr. is an educator, curator and writer based in Los Angeles. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and a Masters in Colonial Art Studies from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM). His current research focuses on collaborative and collective art practices in the Americas. Kelley has written for such journals as Afterall, P.E.A.R., and Log Journal. He served as co-curator of the 2011 Encuentro Internacional de Medellín (MDE11) and was the former Director and Co-Editor of the online bilingual journal He currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino art history at California State University Bakersfield. Kelley has co-edited an anthology with Grant Kester of collaborative art practices in the Americas entitled: Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010 (Duke University Press, 2017).


touring schedule

Pratt Manhattan Gallery
New York, NY, United States
September 27, 2019 - December 14, 2019

Arizona State University Art Museum
Tempe, AZ, United States
February 9, 2019 - July 20, 2019

Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, IL, United States
August 27, 2018 - December 8, 2018

Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Arts and Design
Los Angeles, CA, United States
September 17, 2017 - December 10, 2017

Booking Info

Number of artists or collectives: 22

Number of works: Approximately 100

Space required: Flexible, anywhere between 3,500 - 5,000 square feet

For additional information, as well as to check specific dates of availability, contact Becky Nahom at 212.254.8200, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
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