Pedro Reyes receives US Medal for the Arts

Published in Culture by

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes, who spoke at WDCD in 2013, was awarded a Medal for the Arts in 2015, by the US State Department. Last week Reyes received the medal from US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Reyes and six other artists received the medal for their substantive commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the arts, and their work with the ‘ART in Embassies’ program, which promotes American art abroad. The other artists who were awarded a medal are Sam Gilliam, Xu Bing, Mark Bradford, Maya Lin, Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley.

Secretary of State John Kerry said about Pedro Reyes:
‘Pedro Reyes’ sculpture depicting the inner ear displayed at our consulate – is displayed at our consulate in Tijuana. And it is a poignant reminder that people everywhere need to listen to one another. Pedro once said that art is supposed to make people talk – not about the work itself but “about the discussions that are yet to come.” Pedro, for convincing us to listen harder and to hear more when we do, we say congratulations and thank you.’

Reyes got known for his Palas por Pistolas project (2008) in which guns were turned into shovels to plant trees, and the subsequent project Disarm (2012) that transformed 6,700 destroyed weapons into a series of musical instruments.

People’s United Nations

Later this week Reyes opens an exhibition in Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as part of his latest project, The People’s United Nations (pUN), shown earlier in Queens Museum, New York. The pUN delegate-convening event (2-3 May 2015) is an experimental gathering of volunteer citizen-delegates, regular citizens who live in the Los Angeles area and are connected by family ties or by birth to the 195 nations represented at the UN. Participants will engage in activities in the Hammer’s courtyard that will test Reyes’s hypothesis that conflict-resolution techniques used in social psychology, theater, and art can help solve the world’s most challenging problems, from climate change, to fair wages for women, to food shortages.

See Pedro Reyes’ talk at WDCD13

Pedro Reyes at pUN delegate-convening event in Queens Museum

Pedro Reyes at pUN delegate-convening event in Queens Museum

Delegates at pUN delegate-convening event in Queens Museum

Delegates at pUN delegate-convening event in Queens Museum

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