April's best art talks

From Jeremy Deller to Mike Kelley we select the top ten shows with something to say

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As Funkytown once sung “Talk about it, Talk about it, Talk about it, Talk about, Talk about Talk about movin.” A good lecture, panel discussion or talk can make a visit to an exhibition that bit more exciting. As long as you do not interrupt people in the style of a PhD student in a group seminar and remember it is always polite to ask a question.

MICHAEL SMITH VS BEDWYR WILLIAMS 

Tramway has surpassed itself with two exceptional artist shows to coincide with the Glasgow International. Performa curator Mark Beasley brings them together for this talk with performances about their use of humour. Smiles are guaranteed.

April 6, Tramway, Glasgow: Discussion 3-4pm; Performance by Michael Smith 5pm; Performance by Bedwyr Williams 5.45pm

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Bedwyr Williams

DIGESTING THE DEVOURED 

Travelling space Bosse & Baum have put together a wildly smart panel of women for this discussion on gender and contemporary sculpture to coincide with Lauren Kelly’s solo show in Kings Cross, including the exceptional art historian Griselda Pollock.

Apr 9, Bosse & Baum, London 

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Lauren Kelly, "Silicone Rubber Molds - in progress", 2014 Courtesy of Bosse & Baum

THE CAPITALISATION OF DEATH AND BODY HORROR

This talk with John Russell and Sarah Salih at Rowing Projects touches on the abject and the divine and will be accompanied by a pair of talks by lectures – artist John Russell on ‘Irigaray, Bataille and The Capitalisation of Death’ and lecturer Sarah Salih on ‘Medieval Mysticism, Body Horror and the Contemporary'.

Apr 5, 4-6pm, Rowing Projects, Free booking essential 

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"Jim Shaw, True False Mirror", 1987/1989. VHS videotape transferred to DVD. 5:00. Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London. Photo: Plastiques Photography

NEOMATERIALISM 

Not for those looking for a light bit of conversational fodder. Here Joshua Simon discusses the ideas of his new book at The Sculpture Center – including “commodity, the general intellect, debt, labor, subjectivity, thingness, the dialect of material and dialectical materialism”

Apr 12, 2pm, Sculpture Center, New York

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JEREMY DELLER 

Deller’s touring show All that is Solid Melts into Air hits Nottingham and it's a chance for the British artist to discuss the influence of Industrial Revolution on British popular culture – which sounds like a bloody good topic. Deller will be chatting to art historian and former Manifesta associate curator Dawn Ades.

Apr 15, 6.30-8pm, Nottingham Contemporary

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Adrian Street and his father, 1973, Courtesy of Dennis Hutchinson 2013

BENNETT SIMPSON ON MIKE KELLEY 

Do you need an excuse to hear anyone talk about Mike Kelley? Obviously not. To coincide with the Los Angeles incarnation of the travelling uber retrospective of the late Kelley’s work, curator Bennett Simpson will be talking about the artist in his former hometown.

Apr 17, 7pm, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles RSVP 

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Silver Ball by Mike Kelley Photograph by Jonathan Alcorn /Reuters. Courtesy: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/mar/31/mike-kelley-retrospective-los-angeles-moca-geffen

THESE THINGS CALLED EXHIBITIONS 

Why go to one talk when you can go to an entire symposium? This day at the New Museum looks at exhibitions organised by artists with speakers like Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster talking about her own shows and artist-formed shows discussed by Richard Hamilton, Yael Bartana and Mary Kelley.

Apr 19, New Museum, New York

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Noah Purifoy, “66 Signs of Neon,” ca. 1966. Exhibition view. Courtesy the Noah Purifoy Foundation noahpurifoy.com

HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND QUEER THE INTERNET

You can always count on The ICA for a good talk. This two way conversation between Jack Halberstam and Zach Blas looks at the relationship with queerness and technology from queer code to new media activism.

Apr 29 6.45pm £5, ICA London

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Zach Blas, "Facial Weaponization Suite: Fag Face Mask", 2012 Courtesy of the

TARR: FICTION BY ARTISTS

This talk, which includes a bowl of soup and bread to keep you happy, looks at artists (well actually a couple of critics and curators) writing fiction. Readers include Paul Becker, Simon Bill, Jennifer Higgie, Tom Morton, Audrey Reynolds and Dazed Emerging Artist Award winner Faye Green.

Apr 24, 7-9pm, £6 BALTIC Gateshead

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WILLIAM POPE L 

William Pope L, inspired by a story by sci-fi writer Gene Wolfe, has an exciting solo show of abstract VHS works, wooden sculpture and drawings opening at Chicago’s Renaissance Society this month. The artist is presenting a talk just before the exhibition opening.

Apr 28, 5-6pm, The Renaissance Society, Chicago 

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