The Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design is organizing Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas, hereafter referred to as Talking to Action, a large-scale research project, symposia series, exhibition and publication as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative.

This collaborative and dialogically based form of art-making in Talking to Action, referred to as “Social Practice” in the U.S., has a deep history both here and abroad. Rather than consider the LA/LA relationship from one side only – the perspective from Los Angeles towards Latin America – Talking to Action attempts to build a direct dialogue with artists and researchers across the hemisphere to discuss issues and art practices in common, as well as investigate artists who freely blur the lines between object making, political and environmental activism, community organizing, and performance. Some of the issues addressed in both existing work and new collaborations include: migration and memory; critical mapping and cartographic practices; environmental issues and policies; gender rights and legislation; indigenous culture and language; and violence and policing tactics.

The first phase of Talking to Action is a two-year collaborative research platform (2014-2015), supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation, that investigates contemporary community-based art practices in various sites in Latin America and Los Angeles. Artists and investigators from across the hemisphere are participating in collaborative research and have already convened at a conference, in Mexico City in Nov. 2014 and will again in Quito in Aug. 2015. The third and final conference will take place at Otis College of Art and Design on Saturday November 7, 2015. As in the previous event, the Otis conference will include workshops and presentations that will address the aesthetic, theoretical and practical challenges posed by Talking to Action.

The second phase of Talking to Action will be a large-scale, multi-platform exhibition at Otis’ Ben Maltz Gallery from September – December 2017 that will be accompanied by a range of public programs and a comprehensive bilingual publication. The curators for the project are Bill Kelley Jr. (Lead Researcher and Curator) and Karen Moss (Co-curator), both of whom are faculty members in the Otis Graduate Public Practice Program.

The collaborative research model of Talking to Action not only positions Los Angeles as one among many sites of investigation within Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, but also explores the distinct forms, pedagogies, and theoretical legacies that are found in these same contexts. The Talking to Action blog, http://blogs.otis.edu/talking-to-action launched in November 2014, presents the research phase to the public through the online publication of field reports from around the globe written by researchers from the United States, Europe and Latin America. These posts prioritize community-specific and dialogically intensive practices; highlight art making that would otherwise elude the traditional curatorial model of research; and facilitate the understanding of artists’ work within local contexts.

About Otis: Founded in Los Angeles in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design prepares diverse students of art and design to enrich the world through their creativity, their skill, and their vision. The College offers an interdisciplinary education for 1200 full-time students, awarding BFA degrees in Advertising, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Product Design, Painting, Photography, Sculpture/New Genres, and Toy Design; and MFA degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. Continuing Education offers certificate programs as well as personal and professional development courses. Additional information is available at: http://www.otis.edu

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles taking place across Southern California from September 2017 through January 2018.