Inaugural Lecture by Renowned Performance Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, April 22

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts is a consortium of international institutions, artists, scholars, and activists dedicated to exploring the relationship between expressive behavior (broadly construed as performance) and social and political life in the Americas. After a decade of growth and innovation, the Institute has launched a new initiative to present and make widely available the work of New York City artists who operate at the intersection of “hemispheric” (Americas) identities.

Entitled Hemispheric New York (Hemi NY), the initiative comprises three interrelated programs: 1) Public performances and workshops by diverse local artists whose work is hemispheric in terms of language, form, and/or content; 2) A young performers program, entitled EMERGENYC, for talented youth to work with featured artists to develop and present their own performance projects; and 3) A series of public forums and roundtables in order to create new audiences and new connections between established and emerging artists, scholars, cultural institutions, and the public.

“Through the Hemi NY initiative, the Hemispheric Institute seeks to move into its second decade by focusing its resources and energies on New York City as a privileged locus of hemispheric encounters and transformations,” said Diana Taylor, director of the Hemispheric Institute and professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at NYU. “We wish to enrich New York City’s civic and cultural life by promoting artistic innovation, strengthening local cultural institutions, and activating relationships between diverse local communities, performance artists, and institutions in ways that will create new avenues for cross-cultural dialogue.”

Hemi NY’s programs will support a creative engagement with issues of ethnicity, culture, language, and class, highlighting the hemispheric encounters and the transformations of artistic practices that arise in New York City, the Americas’ greatest cultural crossroads. Taylor and her colleagues believe that the cultural “collisions” that take place in New York City continually give rise to new and hybrid practices and art forms. “New York City artists and activists from throughout the Americas and around the world daily engage the topics the Hemispheric Institute explores through its courses, conference/festivals, archives, and publications,” she remarked.

Taylor uses the example of New York City as not only the home, or meeting place, of many of the top artists and scholars from Latin America, but it’s also the home to practices such experimental theater, salsa, hip-hop, and spoken word, all of which have strong roots and adherents in Latin America. “New York City becomes the transformational space in which practices from around the Americas come together, influence each other, and combine into ‘new’ artistic practices.”

Hemi NY’s inaugural event will feature a lecture by renowned performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. “An Evening of Spoken Word Roulette and Critical Theory with Guillermo Gómez-Peña” will take place on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in Jurow Hall, Silver Center, located at 100 Washington Square Park East. The event is free and open to the public. For more detailed information, email

On April 23, Guillermo Gómez-Peña will also present a performance, “El Mexorcist 3: America’s Most Wanted Inner Demon,” at El Museo del Barrio’s Teatro Heckscher, located at 1230 5th Ave and 104th Street, at 6:30 pm. Both Gómez-Peña events are done in collaboration with El Museo del Barrio.

Hemispheric New York is made possible by a grant from The Rockefellers Brothers Fund’s Pivotal Places Program.

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Richard Pierce
Richard Pierce
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