As part of our ongoing partnership with Art Practical, today we bring you the work of writer and performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. The original introduction to the piece explains, “A native of Mexico City, Gómez-Peña has created pioneering work in performance, video, radio, installation, poetry, journalism, and cultural theory that explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, ‘extreme culture,’ and new technologies.” He is also the co-author, with Robert Sifuentes, of the book Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy. No Portraits was first published in February 2013.
For more than thirty years, I’ve been obsessed with photographic documentation of my performance work in dialogue with history. As a self-defined Chicano, I need to be in control of my image. Throughout the years, I have been lucky to be able to work with amazing photographers such as the Mexican Antonio Turok, the Italian Manuel Vason, the Canarian Teresa Correa, the Spanish Javier Caballero, the Lebanese-American R.J. Muna, and the Argentine Julio Pantoja, among others. In collaboration, my performance and photographer colleagues and I have developed amazing photo-performance archives and portfolios. Many of these photos populate my ten books and myriad magazines, newspapers, websites, posters, brochures, and even a few murals and comic books. Others are virtually unknown, especially those capturing projects that were invisible to the art world.