Pedro Reyes Explores Disarmament in “DIRECT ACTION” at SITE Santa Fe

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The Mexican artist confronts gun violence and nuclear power through sculpture, print, performance, and video work.

Pedro Reyes, “Disarm Guitar” (2018) destroyed weapons, metal parts, strings, 97 x 42 x 7 cm (©Pedro Reyes, photo by Fiona Tommasi)

Pedro Reyes has been celebrated for his large-scale, interactive sculptural projects that propose playful solutions to social problems. In his words, “Sculpture is about changing the shape of a material, and in social sculpture, the materials are the ideas and relationships of a community. The show is called DIRECT ACTION because it is a participatory process.”

DIRECT ACTION situates Reyes’s interest in global disarmament in the New Mexican context, mining the state’s history of nuclear warfare and uranium extraction. In addition to the abundant and diverse array of artworks installed throughout the galleries, the exhibition also includes two libraries exploring nuclear history, art, social justice, and international relations that visitors are invited to peruse. 

Deepening his connection to issues specific to the “Land of Enchantment,” Reyes worked with Albuquerque high school students to weld sculptures from decommissioned gun parts sourced from local gun buy-back programs. These pieces, collectively entitled “MEMENTO,” will be available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

DIRECT ACTION is on view at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico through May 8.

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