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Guillermo Gómez-Peña

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guillermo Gómez-Peña
Born (1955-09-23) September 23, 1955 (age 64)
EducationCalifornia Institute of the Arts
Notable work
Couple in The Cage: Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West
Emily Hicks
(m. 1988; div. 1989)
AwardsJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship
1991 Writer and Interdisciplinary ArtistMacArthur Fellows Program

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a Mexican/Chicano performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. Gómez-Peña has created work in multiple media, including performance art, experimental radio, video, photography and installation art. His ten books include essays, experimental poetry, performance scripts and chronicles in both English, Spanish and Spanglish. He is a founding member of the art collective Border Arts Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo and director of the performance art troupe La Pocha Nostra.[1][2]

Gómez-Peña has contributed to cultural debates for nearly 30 years staging seminal performance art pieces including Couple in The Cage: Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West (with Coco Fusco, 1992–93), The Crucifiction Project (with Roberto Sifuentes, 1994), Temple of Confessions (1995), The Mexterminator Project (1997–99),The Living Museum of Fetishized Identities, (1999-2002), the Mapa/Corpo series (2004-2009), Corpo Ilicito (2010-2011) and most recently Corpo Insurrecto (2012-2013). His performance work mixes experimental aesthetics, activist politics, Spanglish humor and audience participation to create a "total experience" for the audience member/reader/viewer.


Early life

Guillermo Gómez-Peña was born in Mexico City in 1955. He studied Linguistics and Latin American Literature at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) from 1974–1978.[3] He moved to the US in 1978 and studied at California Institute of the Arts, earning a B.A. in 1981 and an M.A. in 1983.


From 1983 until 1990, Gómez-Peña lived in the San Diego/Tijuana border region.[4] Most of his artistic and intellectual work concerns the interface between North and South (Mexico and the U.S.), border culture and the politics of the brown body. His original interdisciplinary arts projects and books explore borders, physical, cultural and otherwise, between his two countries and between the mainstream U.S. and the various Latino cultures: the U.S.-Mexico border itself, immigration, cross-cultural and hybrid identities, and the confrontation and misunderstandings between cultures, languages and races. Gómez-Peña was a founding member of Border Arts Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo, an international arts collective based at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego.[2][5]

His artwork and literature also explore the politics of language, the side effects of globalization, "extreme culture," the culture of violence and new technologies from a Latino perspective.[6] He is a patron of the London-based Live Art Development Agency[7] and a Senior Fellow of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics (NYU).

La Pocha Nostra

Gómez-Peña is the artistic director of the international performance troupe La Pocha Nostra.[8] La Pocha Nostra is a trans-disciplinary arts organization that provides a support network and forum for artists of various disciplines, generations and ethnic backgrounds. La Pocha is devoted to erasing the borders between art and politics, art practice and theory, artist and spectator. La Pocha Nostra has intensely focused on the notion of collaboration across national borders, race, gender and generations as an act of radical citizen diplomacy and as a means to create temporary communities of rebel artists. Every year, La Pocha conducts a summer and a winter performance art school in which Pocha's radical pedagogy (a performance methodology that has been developed during the last 10 years) is shared with an international group of rebel artists.

Gómez-Peña's work with La Pocha Nostra has been presented across the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Australia and South Africa. In recent years, the troupe has presented work at Tate Modern (London), Arnolfini (Bristol), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), LACMA (Los Angeles), the House of World Cultures and the Volksbuhne (Berlin), MACBA (Barcelona), El Museo de la Ciudad (Mexico City) and the Encuentros Hemisféricos in Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires and São Paulo. Gomez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra have participated in the following Biennales: Havana,The Withney, Sydney, Liverpool, Thessaloniki and Mercosur. The troupe's photo performances are now in the permanent collection of Daros Foundation (Zurich) and Galeria Artificios (Gran Canaria).

Collaboration with Coco Fusco

Gómez-Peña traveled internationally for two years with fellow artist Coco Fusco performing The Year of the White Bear and Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West (1992–1994), a satirical performance piece in which the two artists were exhibited in a cage in museums and at arts festivals as "authentic" Amerindians from a previously undiscovered island off the Mexican coast.[9] The pair dressed up in a hodgepodge of ethnic drag and bits of Americana such as a baseball cap and grass skirt in the case of Fusco, and face paint and a leopard-skin wrestling mask for Gómez-Peña. Coco Fusco described the piece as "a satirical commentary both on the Quincentenary celebrations and on the history of this practice of exhibiting human beings from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in Europe and the United States in zoos, theaters, and museums."[9] During its run, the critically acclaimed piece was performed at major museums and arts festivals in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and Madrid, Spain, amongst others.

The Year of the White Bear was sometimes accompanied by a performance piece entitled[10] New World (B)Order, which Chicago Reader art critic Carmela Rago called "the denouement of the performance installation at the Field Museum; using irony and humor Gomez-Pena and Fusco allowed us to contemplate the next step--being part of a world border culture, reclaiming our humanity and our hearts."[11] The artists also worked with filmmaker Paula Heredia to create The Couple in the Cage: Guatianaui Odyssey, a documentary that records several performances for The Year of the White Bear as well as viewer reactions to the work.[12]

Additional Collaborations

Besides working in an ongoing basis with La Pocha Nostra (Emma Tramposch, Roberto Sifuentes, Michele Ceballos, Violeta Luna, Dani d'Emilia, Saul Garcia Lopez, Erica Mott and Daniel Brittany Chavez). Gómez-Peña was a member of the San Diego-based Border Arts Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF) art collective which also included artist Emily Hicks, Bertha Jottar, Richard Lou, Victor Ochoa, Robert Sanchez, Michael Schnorr and Rocío Weiss.[13] Gómez-Peña has done collaborative art projects and with James Luna, Reverend Billy, Tania Bruguera, Richard Montoya and Sara Shelton Mann.

Awards and honors



  • Warrior for Gringostroika (book, Graywolf Press, 1993, ISBN 1-55597-199-7)
  • The New World Border: Prophecies, Poems & Loqueras for the End of the world (book, City Lights, 1996) ISBN 978-0-87286-313-2
  • Temple of Confessions: Mexican Beasts and Living Santos (book, powerHouse Books, 1997, ISBN 978-1576870044)
  • Dangerous Border Crossers (book, Routledge, 2000)
  • Codex Espangliensis (book, City Lights, 2000) ISBN 978-0-87286-367-5
  • "Ethno-Techno: Writings on Performance, Activism and Pedagogy (book, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 978-0415362481)
  • El Mexterminator (book, Oceano, 2005) Spanish.
  • Bitacora del Cruce (book, Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2006) Spanish and Spanglish.
  • Conversations Across Borders (book, Seagull Books, 2011) Laura Levin ed.
  • Exercises for Rebel Artists (book, Routledge, 2011)
  • Doc/Undoc (book, City Lights, 2017, ISBN 9780872867208; with Felicia Rice)


Year Video name Notes
2008 Border Clasicos An anthology of all his video works, 1988-2008, Video Data Bank
2008 Homo Fronterizus A collection of his collaborations with filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez, 2008, Onbound store, Live Art Development Agency, London
2005 Ethno-techno: Los video grafitis A collaboration with Daniel Salazar, Gustavo Vazquez, and Jethro Rothe-Kushel, 1990–2005

Selected performances and events

Year Name of performance or event Location(s) Notes
1988 The International Theatre is in the Festival of the Americas Montreal, Canada [15][better source needed]
1989 Border Axes, with Border Arts Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF) art collective Capp Street Project, San Francisco, California [13]
1989 The Demons of Los Angeles France, Spain, and Sweden [15]
1989 Bienal de la Habana Havana, Cuba [15]
1990 The Decade Show New York City, New York [15]
1990 Time Festival Ghent, Belgium [15]
1990 EDGE '90 Newcastle, England [15]
1990 The Los Angeles Festival Los Angeles, California [15]
1991 The Next Wave Festival Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York [15]
1991 The Festival of the Worlds Finland [15]
1992 EDGE '92 Madrid, Spain and London, England [15]
1992 The Sydney Biennial Sydney, Australia [15]
1993 The Los Angeles Festival Los Angeles, California [15]
1993 Whitney Biennial New York City, New York [15]
1993 Fundación Banco Patricios Buenos Aires, Argentina [15]
1993 Rompeforma Puerto Rico [15]
1993 The Hamburg Theatre Festival Hamburg, Germany [15]
1993 LIFT London, England [15]
1994 Banff Centre, Canada [15]
1994 3er Festival de Performance Mexico City, Mexico [15]
1994 Ante-América Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and the United States [15]
1995 Helsinki Act Helsinki, Finland [15]
1995 LIFT London, England [15]
1995 X-Teresa Museum Mexico City, Mexico [15]
1996 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. [15]
1996 5Cyberconf Madrid, Spain [15]
1996 Polverigi Theatre Festival Italy [15]
1996 Szene Festival, Salzburg Austria [15]
1997 Neutral Ground Artist Centre, Regina, Canada
1997 ARS Electronica Lintz, Austria [15]
1997 Root/less Festival Hull, England [15]
1998 Inroads Arts International, Miami, Florida [15]
1999 Caribe 2000 San Juan, Puerto Rico [15]
1999 Le Lieu International Performance Festival Quebec, Canada
1999 Sonart Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain
2000 Encontro Hemisferico Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2000 Eventa 5 Sweden [15]
2001 International Theater Festival Havana, Cuba [15]
2001 Experiències: Barcelona Art Report La Capella, Barcelona, Spain [15]
2001 Ayuntamiento de la Gran Canaria Canary Islands [15]
2001 Performance Space, Sydney, Australia [15]
2001 Espacio C. Santander, Spain [15]
2002 Encuentro Hemisférico Lima, Peru [15]
2002 House of World Cultures Berlin, Germany [15]
2002 Liverpool Biennale Liverpool, England
2003 Tate Modern, London, England
2003 Performance Space, Sydney, Australia
2003 Performance/Installation - in Collaboration with Participants from The Summer Shift 2003 Center for Performance Research, Aberystwyth, Wales [16]
2003 Muffathalle Munich, Germany
2004 Guggenheim Museum, New York City, New York
2004 Cervantino Festival Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico
2005 Panetnica: A pavilion of X-treme Identities Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California A collaboration between Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra - Colombian dancer, Michelle Cebal, and Mexico City performance artist, Violeta Luna.[17]
2005 Bienal del Mercosur Porto Alegre, Brazil
2005 Galeria Artificios Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
2006 Center for Performance Research, Aberystwyth, Wales
2006 PSI#12 (Performance Studies International), Performing Rights London, England Discussion contributors on June 15, 2006 included Ali Zaidi, Miriam Quindani, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Gabriela Salgado.[18]
2006 Chicano Now: American Expressions de Young Museum, San Francisco Part of a larger exhibition at the de Young museum titled, Chicano, the interactive multi-media exhibition Chicano Now: American Expressions is featuring Culture Clash, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Lourdes Portillo, and Gustavo Vazquez.[19]
2007 Festival "Escrita na Paisagem" Evora, Portugal
2007 Centro Cultural La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2008 The "Prognoses" Festival HAU Theater, Berlin, Germany
2008 Mapa/Corpo 3: Interactive Rituals for New Millenium Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) museum, Detroit, Michigan Performed for two nights in September 2008, featuring Violeta Luna and Roberto Sifuentes.[20]
2009 La Habana Biennial Havana, Cuba
2009 The Maison Folie, Mons, Belgium
2009 Thessaloniki Biennal Thessaloniki, Greece
2010 Gala Theater, Washington, DC
2010 The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2010 Instituto Buena Bista, Curaçao, Netherlands
2010 Smithsonian Museum of American History, Washington, DC
2010 Danube Festival Vienna, Austria
2010 National Review of Live Arts Glasgow, Scotland
2010 Gordon Institute for Performing Arts, Cape Town South Africa
2011 Museo de Las Americas, Denver, Colorado
2011 Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
2012 FIT São José do Rio Preto, Brazil
2012 KIASMA, Helsinki, Finland
2012 Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Gran Canaria, Spain
2012 Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria
2013 Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival Brooklyn, New York
2013 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, California
2013 Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
2013 Academia, part of PSI #19 (Performance Studies International) Pigott Theater, Stanford University, Stanford, California [21]
2013 REDCAT, Los Angeles, California
2014 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
2014 The Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California
2014 Venice Performance Art Week Venice, Italy
2014 University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
2015 Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain
2017 Denison University, Glenville, Ohio Solo performance featuring "Balitronica Gómez".[8]


  1. ^ "TAPS presents Guillermo Gómez-Peña". Stanford University, Theater and Performance Studies. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Guillermo Gómez-Peña". Video Data Bank. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Allatson, Paul. "Guillermo Gómez-Peña." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. Ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2005. Vol. 2: pp. 858-59
  4. ^ a b "Biographical Sketch: Guillermo Gómez-Peña". A World of Art. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Mission Statement". Border Art Workshop. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Fox, Claire F. The Fence and The River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2016-02-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b University, Denison. "Performance Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña". Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Anna (Winter 1993). "Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  10. ^ §
  11. ^ Rago, Carmela (January 28, 1993). "Specimens From the New World". Chicago Reader. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Couple in the Cage: Guatianaui Odyssey". Video Data Bank. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Border Lines: The Border Arts Workshop Goes High Tech". Robert Atkins. Village Voice News. 1989-09-26. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  14. ^ United States Artists Official Website
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am "Guillermo Gómez-Peña". Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  16. ^ "Provocative Performance for Aberystwyth - News and latest information on Theatre Dance and Performance in Wales - news, reviews, commentary, features and discussion". Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  17. ^ "» Guillermo Gómez-Peña at LACMA". Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  18. ^ "PSI#12 Performing Rights: London, 2006 - Projects - Live Art Development Agency". Live Art Development Agency. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  19. ^ "Cheech Marin's Vision and Personal Chicano Art Collection Debuts at the de Young Museum in the Herbst Exhibition Galleries". FAMSF. 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  20. ^ Apel, Dora (2012-10-19). War Culture and the Contest of Images. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813553962.
  21. ^ Fabio Salvatti (2013-07-03), Academia by Guillermo Gomez-Peña at PSi 19, retrieved 2018-05-31


External links

This page was last edited on 7 March 2020, at 22:10
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