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Bill Kelley Jr.
Exhibition & Residency:
July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013

18th Street Arts Center is pleased to recognize Bill Kelley, Jr. as its first Curator in Residence. This new annual award for a California curator is a yearlong residency designed to support curatorial research and to promote the development of critical discourse in the field of contemporary art. Through this initiative, 18th Street Arts Center rewards innovative curators with time, space, and a $10,000 prize to investigate and develop ideas within a thematic framework fundamental to his or her practice.

Kelley is an independent curator, theorist and educator based in Los Angeles. His current research focuses on collaborative and collective art practices in the Americas. At 18th Street Arts Center, his residency will focus on Social Practice, a general term that is currently being widely used to define an amalgamation of trans-disciplinary art practices that have direct community involvement and social activism at its core, with an emphasis on investigating artists’ methodologies for public engagement. More specifically, Kelley will investigate pressing issues within Social Practices, with a focus on Los Angeles as a point of entry while considering this genre within the context of its own history and global legacy.

Through a series of on-site public programs and writings to be featured in 18th Street Arts Center’s annual catalog, Kelley will look to reconcile the many sites of cultural work and pedagogy this kind of practice occupies within today’s art world while also considering its relationship to the history of art and theory, ranging from Feminist methodologies to Latin American Liberation Theology. Making connections across history and geography, discussions will center around the positioning of these kinds of practices in varying art and public contexts and the development of language and structure to support artists exploring this kind of critical trans-disciplinary political art.

Most recently, Kelley was co-curator of the 2011 Encuentro Internacional de Medellín (MDE11: Museo de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia 2011-12). In 2009 he organized the collective research project Proyecto Cívico: Diálogos e Interrogantes for the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico. Other recent projects include the exhibition ¿Por qué no te callas? Arte, activismo y medios de comunicación, Arte Actual, FLACSO, Quito (2008) together with a public month-long workshop named Laboratorio de Arte y Espacio Social (LAES), sponsored by the Museo del Banco Central del Ecuador. He is the former Director and current Editorial Adviser of the online bilingual journal and teaches at Otis College’s Graduate Public Practice program.  Additionally, Kelley is currently completing his Ph.D. in Contemporary Art, Theory and Criticism at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and is co-editing an anthology of public and dialogical art practices in the Americas with Grant Kester. He graduated with a Master’s in 19th Century Colonial Art Studies from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM) in 2001.


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