Pedro Reyes

Pedro Reyes Headshot

Pedro Reyes (Mexico City, 1972) studied architecture but considers himself a sculptor, although his works integrate elements of theater, psychology and activism. His work takes on a great variety of forms, from penetrable sculptures (Capulas, 2002-08) to puppet productions (The Permanent Revolution, 2014), (Manufacturing Mischief, 2018).

In 2008, Reyes initiated the ongoing Palas por Pistolas where 1,527 guns were collected in Mexico through a voluntary donation campaign to produce the same number of shovels to plant 1,527 trees. This led to Disarm (2012) where 6,700 destroyed weapons were transformed into a series of musical instruments.

In 2011, Reyes initiated Sanatorium, a transient clinic that provides short unexpected treatments mixing art and psychology. Originally commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Sanatorium has been in operation at Documenta 13, Kassel (2012), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013), The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2014) and OCA, São Paulo (2015) among other 10 venues.

In 2013, Reyes presented the first edition of pUN: The People’s United Nations at Queens Museum in New York City. pUN is an experimental conference in which regular citizens act as delegates for each of the countries in the UN and seek to apply techniques and resources from social psychology, theater, art, and conflict resolution to geopolitics. pUN’s second edition took place at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2015).  The third General Assembly of pUN took place in December 2015 at the Museum of the 21st century in Kanazawa, Japan.

In 2015, Reyes received the U.S. State Department Medal for the Arts and the Ford Foundation Fellowship. In late 2016, he presented Doomocracy, an immersive theatre installation commissioned by Creative Time. He held a visiting scholar position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the fall of 2016, and conducted his residency at MIT’s CAST as the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist.

Continuing his work with firearms, Pedro Reyes presented Return to Sender (2020) at the Museum Tinguely in Basel, consisting of a series of music boxes built with gun parts. Each box plays a well-known classical piece from the respective manufacturer’s country of origin. For Austria a music box made with Glock pistol parts plays Mozart, for Italy, Beretta barrels play Vivaldi and so on. Alluding to the fact that the problem of violence starts in the factory where weapons are made.

Recently, Pedro Reyes was commissioned by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to raise awareness about the increasing risk of nuclear conflict, for which he developed Amnesia Atómica to be presented at Times Square, NYC in August 2021 at the time of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Conference at the United Nations. For his work on disarmament, Reyes was granted the Luxembourg Peace Prize in 2021.