Museum InfoMedia Room

DIA exterior at night
DIA exterior at night

Performance Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña Takes on Race, Identity and Global Politics

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guillermo Gómez-Peña will bring his provocative performance-activism to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Sept. 26-28. He uses spoken word and stimulating interactive performance art to convey his passionate views on an assortment of world issues.


“Gómez-Peña has a way of captivating audiences and involving them in the thought-provoking issues he raises,” said Nancy Jones, executive director of learning and interpretation for the DIA. “His performance will certainly leave a lasting impression with viewers.”


During a free performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, Gómez-Peña will present El Mexorcist, a spoken word performance about an activist who protests the construction of a US/Mexican border. Spontaneously shifting between languages, Gómez-Peña transforms himself into multiple characters reflecting on identity, race, sexuality, pop culture, politics and the impact of new technologies in the post-9-11 era.


On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m., the audience becomes part of the performance in Mapa Corpo: Interactive Rituals for the New Millennium. (Mapa Corpo references using the human body as a political map).  Gómez-Peña, along with the rest of his troupe, including Royal Oak resident Lisa Melinn, will engage the audience in an intensely emotional experience as they move from station to station in his vision of cultural and political conflict in a post-9-11 world. The performance includes enactments of oppression and liberation, and mourning and healing set against a constantly shifting background of media images, spoken word poetics and music. Visitors are invited to interact with the performers as they circulate through the performance space in Rivera Court. Tickets are $20 for the general public, and $18 for DIA members and students with valid ID. Tickets are available through the DIA Box Office at (313) 833-4005.


Gómez-Peña is a MacArthur Grant fellow and has been a regular contributor to NPR cultural commentary. His troupe of artists includes Roberto Sifuentes, professor of performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Violeta Luna, Mexican actress and artist; and René García, California-based video artist.


Hours and admission:

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth ages 6-17. DIA members are admitted free. For more information, call (313) 833-7900 or see the website at



The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth.


Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.


Photos available upon request