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Investigating Community Based Art Practices in Latin America and Los Angeles

Please contact Kathy McPhereson for inquiries and photos:
310–665–6909 /
Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery is pleased to announce Talking to Action, a research platform, symposium, and exhibition as part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative.
Alfadir Luna, Procession of El Senor del Maíz, Monocanal, 2011

Alfadir Luna, Procession of El Senor del Maíz, Monocanal, 2011

The Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design is proud to announce Talking to Action, a research project, upcoming symposium, and exhibition as part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. Phase one of Talking to Action is a two-year collaborative research platform (2014-2016), supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation, that investigates contemporary community-based art practices in various sites in Latin America and Los Angeles. Otis faculty member, Bill Kelley Jr., is Lead Researcher and Curator of the project, which is co-curated with Karen Moss, Interim Director of Galleries and Exhibitions at Otis. During this two-year period, artists and investigators will participate in collaborative research, including a symposium to be held at Otis in November 2015. This research phase will be followed by a large-scale exhibition and bilingual publication in Fall 2017.
This collaborative and dialogically based form of art making in Talking to Action, often 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.
The Talking to Action blog ( will present to the public the research phase through the online publication of field reports from around the globe as they become available. Written by researchers from the United States, Europe, and Latin America, the reports will focus on the experiences of artists working in communities, and will emphasize a unique methodology, action, or specific gesture/expression, such as movement, play, or dialogue. These posts, as with the entire research phase, will prioritize community-specific and dialogically intensive practices, while also highlighting art making that would otherwise elude the traditional curatorial model of research.
The collaborative nature of this initial period is extremely important and is the essence of the research phase. Sharing the process of research and publication with collaborators from across the globe will facilitate the understanding of artists’ work within local contexts. This collaborative research model not only positions Los Angeles as one among many sites of investigation within Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, but it helps Talking to Action explore the distinct forms, pedagogies, and theoretical legacies that are found in these same contexts. After the initial research period, the content will remain on the web as an online archive and will be incorporated in the compendium of texts, analysis, and documents that will accompany the exhibition in 2017.
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is a national leader in art and design education. The College’s mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, Guggenheim, and MacArthur grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, and design stars at Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Disney, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Pixar.
Otis enrolls approximately 1,150 full-time students, and offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media (Game and Entertainment Design, Animation, and Motion Design), Fashion Design, Communication Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design), Fine Arts (Painting, Photography, and Sculpture/New Genres), Product Design, and Toy Design. Otis also awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing.  
The five-acre main campus is located on L.A.’s Westside near the beach and LAX; Fashion Design is in the heart of the downtown fashion district; and Graduate Studios are on the Creative Corridor in nearby Culver City and in the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.
3,000 adults and children participate in Continuing Education art and design classes and workshops.
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.


Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Core programs in liberal arts, business practices, and community-driven projects support the College’s mission to prepare diverse students to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. As Los Angeles’ first professional art school, visionary alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, and design stars at Apple, Anthropologie, Pixar, Mattel, and more. The renowned Creative Action program has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement, and the Otis Report on the Creative Economy is a powerful advocacy tool for creative industries. The College serves the Greater Los Angeles Area through compelling public programming, as well as year-round Continuing Education courses for all ages. More information is available at