“For over 30 years, I’ve been obsessed with photographic documentation of my performance work always in dialogue with history. Why? As a self defined Chicano, I need to be in control of my image. If not, Anglo theorists and curators will. Throughout the years, I have been lucky to be able to work with amazing photographers such as Mexican Antonio Turok, Italian Manuel Vason, Canarian Teresa Correa, Spanish Javier Caballero, Lebanese-American RJ Muna, and Argentine Julio Pantoja, among others. In collaboration with my performance and photographer colleagues, we have developed amazing “photo-performance” archives and portfolios. Many of these photos populate my 10 books and myriad magazines, newspapers, websites, posters, brochures and even a few murals and comic books. Others are virtually unknown, especially those capturing projects which were invisible to the art world. Paradoxically these are my favorite images. What follows is a draft of the book I would love to publish including my favorite photographs ever taken; those iconic historical images I treasure due to their \ sentimental power, symbolic weight and historical significance. More than 30% of these images have never been seen before.
The album is loosely arranged in the following order:
1.-My family’s vernacular performativity and my early years: ~Pages 1-2.
2.-My first involuntary and (semi) voluntary performances: ~Pages 2-3.
3.-Art school & early years in Los Angeles: ~Pages 3-4.
4.-The origins of border art (Tijuana-San Diego): ~Pages 5-6.
5.-Reverse Anthropology: Challenging museum representations of the Other: ~Pages 6-9.
6.-Mexterminator & beyond: La Pocha Nostra’s early projects: ~Pages 9-13.
7.-The performance workshop as the ultimate project: ~Pages 13-18.
8.-The new Pocha Nostra’s “ultra-baroque” aesthetics (2009-Ongoing): ~Pages 18-22.
9.-Selected photo-performance portfolios: ~Pages 22-27.
Arranged and updated by Emma Tramposch and yours truly, this ‘living archive’ documents ‘a lifetime of trouble-making and permanent artistic reinvention,’ or as a blogger noted, 'an archetypal immigrant story.' To understand the cultural and political context of every image and project, please refer to the “retrospective” link that appears in the cover page of our website (www.pochanostra.com). Bare in mind this is a work-in-progress: We are still fine-tuning exact dates and completing credits. In the future, as we add more unique photos, the viewer will hopefully find the complete names of the photographers and collaborating artists appearing in every photo. As you explore this visual diary, if you have information for a missing credit or you have a copy of a unique unpublished photo, please mail it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gómez-Peña, April, 2012
Year of the Wounded Coyote
(Note: Click on the smaller photos for a larger image. GP stands for Gómez-Peña)