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Performance Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña's 'Borderabilia' on View at DePauw March 16-April 17

March 8, 2005

Also: "Yun-Fei Ji: The Empty City," February 2-April 17; "2005 DePauw Biennial: Contemporary Art in the Midwest," February 16-May 8

ELZorro.jpgMarch 8, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - Performance artist, writer and MacArthur fellow Guillermo Gómez-Peña will make a rare appearance in Indiana in conjunction with the project/installation, "Borderabilia: The Museum of the 'Globalized' Other," which will be on view at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center at DePauw University from March 16 through April 17, 2005. The exhibition and all events are free and open to the public.

"Borderabilia: The Museum of the 'Globalized' Other," is a contemporary wonder cabinet, the product of a collaboration between curator Kaytie Johnson and performance artist/writer and self-styled "reverse anthropologist" Guillermo Gómez-Peña. The project reflects a current trend in which curators and artists throughout the world are experimenting with original presentational formats for contemporary art which take into consideration the drastic epistemological changes in the relationship between audience and cultural institution, as well as artist and audience, produced by the current mainstream culture of interactivity and role playing.

Containing a selection of pop ethnography, political kitsch, “high” velvet art, barrio conceptual art, one-of-a-kind artist books and archaeological performance props and costumes, "Borderabilia: The Museum of the 'Globalized' Other" is an installation that critically examines the techniques and narratives of display by situating objects and notions of collecting within the context of the "Fourth World.” The fascination for collecting natural and man-made wonders was immensely popular in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Wealthy collectors often displayed their encyclopedic collections of paintings, sculpture, and natural and artificial exotica in rooms known as Wunderkammers, literally "wonder cabinets." During this age of exploration, these cabinets became "theaters of the universe" in which the new discoveries of the world were proudly displayed and consumed.

The borderized and hybridized works that comprise the installation reconfigure in contemporary terms the objects originally contained in sixteenth-century European collector's cabinets. Within the performance universe and site of cultural transmutation that is (re)created in Borderabilia, constructed personas are exhibited as "cultural specimens," traditional rituals coexist with contemporary technology, and tourist artifacts and souvenirs, taking the form of "involuntary conceptual art," are transformed into sacred objects.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s work, which includes performance art, video, audio, installations, poetry, journalism, IndioAmazonico.jpgand cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, "extreme culture" and new technologies in the era of globalization. A MacArthur fellow, he is a regular contributor to the national radio news magazine All Things Considered (National Public Radio), a writer for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico, and a contributing editor to the Drama Review (MIT). For twenty years, he has explored intercultural issues with the use of mixed genres and experimental languages. Continually developing multi-centric narratives and large-scale performance projects from a border perspective, Gómez-Peña creates what critics have termed "Chicano cyber-punk performances," and "ethno-techno art."

Gómez-Peña’s performance and installation work has been presented at over seven hundred venues across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. Through his organization La Pocha Nostra, Gómez-Peña has focused very intensely in the notion of collaboration across national borders, race, gender and generation as an act of citizen diplomacy and as a means to create “ephemeral communities.”

Events associated with the installation include "El Mexterminator vs. The Global Predator," a spoken word performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña on March 31 at 7:30 in Thompson Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center. That same evening at 8:30 p.m. in the Peeler Center's Visual Arts Gallery, you're invited to "Border Karaoke", an interactive performance directed by Gómez-Peña where audience members are invited to come dressed as their favorite "cultural other," or to bring props and costumes that can be used to createperformance personas in "ethnic drag."

This event has been sponsored in part by the DePauw Public Occasions Committee, the Committee for Latina/o Concerns, United DePauw and the Butler Family Fund. The galleries at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Please call the gallery information line at (765) 658-4882 or visit the Peeler Art Center online by clicking here.

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