David Medalla is a pioneer of land art, kinetic art, participatory art and live art. At the age of 12 he attended as a special student at Colombia University in New York. He studied ancient greek drama with Moses Hadas, modern drama with Eric Bentley, modern literature with Lionel Trilling, modern philosophy with John Randall and attended the poetry workshop of Leonie Adams.
He returned to Manila in the late fifties, where he met the earliest patrons of his art. In 60s Paris, the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard introduced his performance at the Academy of Raymond Duncan, (brother of Isidora); later, Louis Aragon would introduce another performance and finally, Marcel Duchamp honoured him with a 'medallic' object.
He was included in Harald Szeemann's Weiss auf Weiss (1966) and Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969) and in the DOCUMENTA 5 exhibition in 1972 in Kassel. In London, Medalla edited the journal SIGNALS, (1964-1966), initiated in 1967 the Exploding Galaxy, consisting of several international multi-media artists, and from 1974-1977 was the chairman of Artists for Democracy.
In New York, in 1994, he founded the Mondrian Fan Club with Adam Nankervis as vice-president. He has lectured widely at universities across the globe. Madella sees himself as a citizen of the world, feeling at home everywhere.