ASU Art Museum displays activism and pedagogy through artistic works

ASU Art Museum’s latest exhibition showcases contemporary art across the Americas

While art can often be appreciated purely for its aesthetics or synchronicity, ASU’s latest art exhibition highlights a different focus: art as a vessel for change.

The traveling exhibition, titled “Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas”, is now at ASU Art Museum and presents art, cinema and other media focusing on the themes of contemporary art and social reform.

The exhibition aims to present art from different countries in a context where it can be engaged and continually debated and discussed, rather than simply appreciated for its aesthetic qualities, said Bill Kelley Jr., curator and principal investigator of the exhibition.

The exhibition shows how closely art and social change have been linked throughout history.

“I don’t know if I can imagine activism without art, because to reinvent solutions to complex problems… you need creative thinking,” Kelley said. “You’re not going to change the world unless you think it through. “

Sandra de la Loza, an Los Angeles-based artist who collaborates with Eduardo Molinari in the exhibit to illustrate social justice efforts to tackle gentrification in their communities, said art can reflect the past in ways that bring about changes in the present. .

“We are not interested in the past or in history out of simple nostalgia,” said de la Loza, an archival specialist. “We are really interested in how the past lives with us and also how the past can inform and reveal the present and even suggest a future. “

Another central theme of the exhibition is pedagogygy – which refers to art, science, or the teaching profession – because learning is so fundamental to the practice of art and can have unexpected impacts in the modern world, Kelley said .

Michèle Jaquis, the director of interdisciplinary studies at Otis College of Art and Design where the exhibit was held, said one of the artists featured in the exhibit used his art to explore how different teachings of certain words can cause people to understand words differently depending on culture or context .

Taniel Morales from Mexico City recorded interviews with residents of his hometown and Los Angeles, and asked them how they understood certain words, such as “frontera”, the Spanish word for “border”.

For Spanish speakers who knew the direct translation, they viewed the word with a negative connotation, Jaquis said. But for those who didn’t know the meaning, she said they would associate it with the word “border,” seeing the word in a more positive light.

These interviews, along with other archival material containing similar activist messages, will be on display at this exhibit, which is free to all ASU students.

De la Loza said she sees herself as an active person in community struggles and creative actions.

“Creativity is a big part of these actions,” she said. “I’m also an artist who creates works that circulate in museums, art galleries and art institutions. Sometimes those things overlap and sometimes not. It’s definitely, in this installation, everything comes together.”

The exhibition will be open at the ASU Art Museum from February 9 to July 6.


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