Pedro Reyes 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 ( Baby Marx , 2008, The Permanent Revolution , 2014). 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), and OCA, Sao Paulo (2015) among others.
In 2013, he 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, he 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’s for the fall of 2016, and he is currently conducting his residency at MIT’s CAST as the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist. In 2018, he presented Manufacturing Mischief , a satirical puppet play featuring Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, Elon Musk and Tiny Trump. Manufacturing Mischief first premiered in Boston at MIT and has been presented at Carnegie Mellon University, Canadian Stage in Toronto, The Tank in New York City and will be exhibited at Park Nights at the Serpentine Galleries in London. In addition to his artistic practice, Pedro Reyes has curated numerous shows and often contributes to art and architectural publications. He lives and works in Mexico City.