Nao Bustamante

Nao Bustamante
Photo by Hiroshi Clark

Artist’s Statement

I entered the art world with no training, just a voracious need to express a point of view. My work gamboled twixt performance, video, installation, research and writing, addressing cultural stereotypes and social ethos. Process-oriented and conceptual, it blurs high and low-art. Props built for performances become sculptural objects and visa versa, creating an integral impression at the center of which my body is used as a source of image, narrative, and emotion.

My production tracks a line from the vulnerable to the protected body. In ‘America, the beautiful.’ I offered a distorted vision of female sexuality and the beauty myth: aggressively bound by tape to create an hour-glass figure, make-up caked on, hairspray applied to the point of choking…

In contrast, the large-scale exhibition Soldadera, was a protective and memorializing project for women that fought in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). These soldaderas were essential in that long, violent civil war. I considered how each woman and her archive open an understanding of our own histories and futures. In one work there are five Edwardian “fighting costumes,” dresses representing various class statuses, inspired by the Special Collections Library at UC Riverside. Made of Kevlar®, they’re bullet-resistant, providing metaphorical protection. I tested one with weaponry of the time; the apron stopped a 9 mm slug.

Currently I’m working on a fantastical redesign of the speculum, the most significant since 1943! The device used today for pelvic examinations is credited to James Marion Sims. Called the “father of American gynecology,” he earned his success on the backs of enslaved women: conducting experiments in his backyard hospital. Born of racist and misogynistic beginnings, the tool deserves attention from an artist willing to explore its symbolic limits, use and object hood.


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Combined BFA/MFA in New Genres San Francisco Art Institute
2020 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts San Francisco Art Institute

2018 – 21,
Professor of Art and Director of the MFA Art Program
University of Southern California, Roski School of Art and Design
2016 – 18, Associate Professor of Art and Vice-Dean of Art
University of Southern California, Roski School of Art and Design
2001 – 15, Associate Professor of New Media
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
2000 – 01, Adjunct Instructor
California College of Arts and Crafts – Film/Video Department

2022 Tan Tan, BOFFO Residency Fire Island, July 16
2021 The Wooden People, REDCAT LA, CA, Dec
BLOOM, curator Pilar Tompkins Rivas, ARTPACE, San Antonio, Texas, July – Sept
Gender Reveal, with Marcus Nazario, MoCA, Skopje, Macedonia, June
Soldadera, SA Exhibitions, Santa Ana, CA, Jan – March
2019 Nao Bustamante is DELUSIONAL, REDCAT, with Dirty Looks LA, Nov
Given Over to Want, No New Idols Festival, Riga, Latvia, June
Rosa Does Joan, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Feb 8 – May 4
2018 The Perfect Ones with Matt Johnstone, Fashion Institute of Technology, NY, NY, March
Tierra. Sangre. Oro. with Rafa Esparza Ballroom Marfa, Texas, Aug. 2017 – March 2018 2017  Teach Me / Enséñame al Español, The Broad, Los Angeles, Oct – Nov
Floating Gardens No. 2 w/ R. Esparza, Whitney Biennial, New York, March – June Hamburger Hands with Helado Negro, ASU ART Museum, Phoenix Arizona, May
Silver & Gold, FADO Art Centre, Toronto, Canada, Feb
2016 Given Over to Want, Quiebre: Festival en Puerto Rico, Aug
Slithering Screens, Museum of Modern Art, New York, April
EARLY CAREER RETROSPECTIVE, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, Texas, Feb
2015 Soldadera, Foundry Art Design + Culture, NY, Nov – Dec
Deathbed, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, July
Womyn’s Land, Oakland Museum of California, March
Soldadera, Vincent Price Art Museum, LA, May – Aug
2014 Silver & Gold, Institute Performance & Politics, Montreal, June
2013 Amateur, Stanford University, Palo Alto CA, June
2012 Tierra y Libertad, Kevlar® 2945, Am. Studies Assoc. Con., Puerto Rico Nov
untitled (Blasting Voice), Suzanne Geiss Company, NYC, July
2011 My Last Performance MoMA/PS1, Queens NY, Oct
Silver & Gold Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater, LA, July
Evening with Nao Bustamante MoMA, NY, Documentary Fortnight Feb
2010 Silver & Gold Berkeley Art Museum & PFA, Nov
EAR Presents EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic, Oct
Deathbed Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, SF CA, June – July
2009 Given Over to Want Purchase College, SUNY New York, March
Silver & Gold Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin Germany, Oct
2008 New Blood Vertexlist Gallery, Brooklyn NY, Sept
Intervene! Interrupt! University of California, Santa Cruz, May
Nervous Breakdown Highways, Santa Monica California, May
Earth People 2507 2nd Floor Projects, April – May
The Way That We Rhyme Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF CA, April
Arte no es Vida El Museo del Barrio, NYC New York, March
Grotesques A Space Gallery, Toronto Canada, Feb – March
2007 Watch Me Get Watched Telic Arts Exchange, Los Angeles, Sept
Given Over to Want Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose CA, Aug
Vestuary Operatics St. Anthony’s Church, Albany New York, June
Find Yourself Through Me Advocate Gallery LGBT Center, LA, May – July
Performagia Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Mexico City, May
Hero Transmodern Fest, Baltimore Maryland, March
2006 Deformes Santiago Biennial, Chile, Nov
Hero Armory, University Illinois, Champaign Ill, Sept
Nao Bustamante & Dynasty Handbag PS 122, New York City, March – April
2005 ¡ARTISTAS LATINO/AS! Shellnut Gallery, Troy NY, Sept – Oct
Let Me The Knitting Factory, NYC, Aug
Let Me New Langton Arts, SF CA, July – Aug
Let Me Roy & Edna Disney CalArts Theater, LA, June
Find Yourself Through Me Brown University, Providence RI, March – May
2004 Neapolitan Artist Center of North Adams Mass, July – Aug
Powering Up/Powering Down UOC, San Diego CA, Jan
2003 Sans Gravity Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York NY, Aug
Sans Gravity Tisch School of the Arts, NYC, July
temporary space Instituto de Superior Arte, Havana Cuba, Jan
2002 America, the beautiful Hemispheric Institute, Lima Peru, July
2001 Ultrabaroque SF Museum of Modern Art, SF CA, Nov
Sans Gravity Luggage Store, San Francisco CA, July
Call and Response San Francisco Art Institute, CA, Jan – Feb
2000 America, the beautiful The LAB, San Francisco CA, Sept
Wax Museum The LAB, San Francisco CA, Aug – Sept
Carnal Desires of Lightness University of Florida, Gainesville, Sept – Oct
Sans Gravity Nippon Arts Festival, Tokyo Japan, March – April
Sans Gravity Taipei Arts Festival, Taiwan, March
Sans Gravity Jakarta Arts Festival, Indonesia, Feb
Under the Rug Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Jan

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (partial list)
2022 Rocking the Market
Bronx River Art Center, May 6 – June 11
2021 Breadphones 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA, July
BLOOM (COLA Individual Artist Fellows) Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, May – July
2020 Three Turns
Ofrendas, curator: Sandy Rodriguez SFAI tower, San Francisco, Jan
Self Help Graphics & Art, LA, Oct. – Nov
2019 Meet Me at the Edge of the Sun Después de Zapata
The Body Female
Flowers, curator: Devendra Banhart LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), June Palacio BellasArtes, Mexico, Nov 2019 – Feb ’20 Zebulon (presented by ICA, Los Angeles) Jan.
Hauser & Wirth, Dec.
The Pleasure Principle
Forging Territories: Queer Afro Latinx Chase Scene
Ceci n’est pas un Bus Tour Maccarone Gallery Los Angeles, Sept. – Nov San Diego Art Institute, June – Nov
Sacred Spectacle, Los Angeles, June
ICA LA + Curate LA, Frieze LA Art Fair, Feb
Tru Blue Mirror, curator: Mads Lynnerup McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, SF, CA, Jan
2018 As Far as the Heart Can See Elizabeth Foundation, NY, Sept. – Nov
2017 Rhetoric in Times of War Corazón del Espantapájaros
Warhol Icon Roy & Edna Disney/CALARTS Theater, LA, Dec Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Aug – Oct
The Broad, LA CA, June
Reflections on Mexico in the NAFTA Era Armory Center for the Arts, May – Sept
2016 Queer Rebels: Transgressors
Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art MIX NYC Brooklyn, New York, Feb
Jewish Museum, SF, CA, Nov 2016 – April ’17
2015 In Search of Margo-go
Double Agency, Unframed TABLEAU Loyola Marymount University, March
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, April Collar City Film Festival, Troy, New York, Jan
2014 Originale (Stockhausen Happening) The Kitchen, New York City, Nov
2013 A Story
TABLEAU Outfest LGBT Festival
Performing the Archive
2012 From a Whisper to a Roar Harry Dodge Studio, Summer Series, LA, July Roy and Edna Disney Concert Hall, LA, July New York University, NYC, July
Women’s Caucus for Art, LA, Feb – March
Famous Last Words
Untitled #1(Earth People 2507) Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, March La Filmoteca de Andalucía, Córdoba, Spain, Jan
2010 The Chain South, with Miguel Calderon
100 Pitches
2009 THE HISTORY OF THE FUTURE II Claremont Graduate University, CA., June Dixon Place, New York City, May – June Abrons Art Center, Nov
2008 Sans Gravity, curator: Harry Dodge
Foxy Moron with Silas Howard Light Industry, Brooklyn, New York, Jan
The Silver Platter, Los Angeles, June
Cinco de Maypole
untitled with Chris Skinner
A Story, curators: Steiner & Gasteiz
Arte ≠ Vida: Artists of the Americas Nanookie Of the North
CELLuloid The Echo, Los Angeles, May
The Stone, New York City, October Montehermoso, Spain, Sept 2008 – Jan ’09
Lilith Performance Studio, Malmö, Sweden, Sept El Museo del Barrio, New York City, Jan – June Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, June
Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Feb

2022 The Wooden People (2021) Collection of the Kadist Art Foundation
2010 Silver & Gold (2010) Collection of the Kadist Art Foundation.
2006 Archive of work from 1990 – 2006 Hemispheric Institute Digital Library at NYU
Mega-Compilation DVD Rochelle School in London, England
1995 Mexican Artists in the Bay Area California College of Arts Library, Oakland

2022 California Community Foundation, Fellowship for Visual Artists
The National Performance Network (NPN) Documentation & Storytelling Fund BOFFO Residency Fire Island, Fire Island, New York
2021 Scholarship in Humanities and Social Sciences (ASHSS) Research Grant USC The National Performance Network (NPN) Development Fund
The Mike Kelley Foundation Artist Project Grant
City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.) Individual Artist Fellowship
ARTPACE International Artist-in-Residence program, San Antonio, Texas CULTUREHUB Residency, Los Angeles
The National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund
2015 MEXUS Scholar in Residence, UC Institute for Mexico and the US Queer Artist in Residence, UC Riverside
2013 Makers Muse Award from the Kindle Foundation University of Texas, Benson Library Scholar in Residency
2012 Artist in Residence of the American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico 2008 Chase Legacy Award in Film. Sundance International Film Festival
University of California, Los Angeles, Guest Scholar, Chicano Studies Research Center 2007 Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, The Tides Foundation
New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship
2001 Franklin Furnace, New Media Residency, New York City Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Faculty Achievement Award Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship
2000 GLBT Historical Society Arts Award
1999 The Murphy and Cadogen Fellowship
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Full scholarship

PUBLICATIONS (Sole or Contributing Author, partial list)
2021 “Final Transmission: Performance Art and AIDS in Los Angeles”
in conversation with Jennifer Doyle, Brian Getnick & Tanya Rubbak, eds. NS and Live Art Development Agency, pg. 51-59
2015 “Sundance: From the Inside Looking In”
Artillery, Killer Text on Art, Tulsa Kinney, ed.
2012 “The Personal Evolution of the Performance Object”
Perform, Repeat, Record, Amelia Jones & Adrian Heathfield, eds. Bristol: Intellect Press, pg. 295-300
Artillery, Killer Text on Art, Tulsa Kinney, ed. pg. 60
2003 “The Chain South”
International Feminist Art Journal, Vol. 12, pg. 68-71
2000 “America, the Beautiful”
Corpus Delecti, Performance Art of the Americas, Coco Fusco, ed., Routledge, pg. 196-197

TALKS AND PANELS (recent and partial list)
2022 Artist Talk, Whyte Hall
Mediated Identifications: José Esteban
Visiting seminar guest
Artist Talk, studio visits and seminar Artist Talk
2021 Artist Talk BOFFO Residency Fire Island Brown University
New School (GIDEST), Manhattan USC Roski School of Art and Design Stanislaus State University
Northwestern University Performance Studies
2020 Bustamante, in conversation Soldadera: Archives of the Revolution Sense of Brown: José Muñoz Crossfade Lab Reunion San Francisco Alumni Association University of California, Riverside Libraries
Grad. Center, CUNY & Duke University Press CALA Alliance
2019 Oral History with Nao Bustamante Commencement Honoree Keynote Artist Takeover
In conversation with Tara Aisha Willis Inside Killjoy’s Kastle
panelist Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institute) San Francisco Art Institute
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
New York University Depart. of Perf. Studies
2018 Hot Slit
Reflections On Disidentifications At 20 The Work of Abjection
PERFORMING CRITIQUE Skylight Books University of Maryland
Pratt Institute, The Global South Center Cal State University Long Beach
2017 Performance Studies Caucus Manifesto for Queer of Color Life GENDERED AND QUEER SPACE American Studies Association
Association of the Study of Arts in the Present Vincent Price Art Museum
2016 Radical Women Walk-through NEW VOICES, NEW FRONTIER
Artist Talk
Panel Moderator, Counter Artifacts Multicultural Arts Summit, Keynote The Hammer Museum
Marc Selwyn Fine Art with Sundance Institute Association for Theatre in Higher Education Siggraph Conference
The Getty Foundation, The Getty Center
2015 in dialogue with Jennifer Doyle Art as Activism, panelist Immigration: Art/Critique/Process
Archiving the Sexual Body, panelist Artist Talk
Against Respectability Politics LGBTQP Queer Biennial II
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books California Institute of the Arts University of Southern California
Northwestern University Performance Studies Brown University
Project X Forum 8: Lost and Found
Artist talk
Soldadera: transforming violence
Artist talk
LA/LA: Place and Practice 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA University of Buffalo
Vincent Price Art Museum University of California, Riverside
Pacific Standard Time; The Getty Foundation
LA/LA Place and Practice
Visiting Artist Lecture Revolutionary Mexico and Gender Heteronormative Colonialism UOC, San Diego Department of Visual Arts San Diego Museum of Art
University of California, Riverside University of California, Los Angeles
2012 Graduate Lecture Series
Artists Respond to Dangerous Times
Guest Lecturer
Amateur: The work of Nao Bustamante Meet the Celebrity: Fufu & Nao USC Roski School of Art and Design Williams College
University of Wisconsin-Madison Colgate University
El Museo del Barrio
2010 Artist Talk
Both Sides of the Mexico/U.S. Border
Guest Lecturer Guest Lecturer
Latino Art Now!: The New Wave
Guest Speaker Artist Talk Artist Talk Syracuse University Morono Kiang Gallery San Francisco Art Institute
University of California, Berkeley Plaza de la Raza
Bard College
Parsons the New School for Design University of California, Los Angeles

BIBLIOGRAPHY (partial list)
2022 “Rocking the Market” Gary Axelbank, Bronx Buzz, May 9
2021 “Artists Examining Themselves” Neyat Yohannes, CARLA, Winter, pg. 22-29.
“Into the Vaginal Imaginary” Laura Gutiérrez, The Latinx Project, Sept
“BLOOM: Nao Bustamante at Artpace” Lauren Lluveras, Glasstire, Sept
“Redesigning a Gynecological Tool” Lauren Moya Ford, Hyperallergic, Aug
2020 “The Sense of Brown” José Esteban Muñoz, Duke University Press
2017 “Mexico’s Nobodies” Bridget Christine Arce, University of NY Press
“Practices of Looking” Cartwright & Sturken, Oxford University Press
2016 “Performance” Diana Taylor, Duke University Press
2015 “Sergei Eisenstein’s Revolution” Tobias, Doyle, Lozier & Anderson: ARTBOUND
“Soldadera: Memory Machine” Rudi Kraeher, ARTBOUND, KCET, June
“Soldadera: The Artist Meets Her Muse” Jennifer Doyle, ARTBOUND, KCET, June
“Women of the Mexican Revolution” Carolina Miranda, Los Angeles Times, May
“Must-See In L.A. This Week” Catherine Wagley, LA Weekly, May
“Chicana/o Art” Shifra M. Goldman, UCLA Research Press
2013 “TABLEAU” Trish Nguyen, Film Snobbery, Aug
“What to Watch” Paul Sbrizzi, Hammer to the Nail July
“Life as Material for Art and Vice Versa” Nicolas Estevez, Queens Museum of Art Pub.
“Difficulty and Emotion in Contemp. Art” Jennifer Doyle, Duke University Press
“Nao Bustamante’s Neapolitan” DL Alvarez, San Francisco MoMA blog
2010 “The Politics of Spectactorship” Berin Golonu, Art Papers, Nov
“She’s Not Here to Make Friends” Michael Leaverton, SF Weekly, June
“Nao Bustamante is back to reality” Tom Keyser, Times Union, Entertainment, Aug
“Guest Stars” Jennifer Doyle, Frieze Magazine, July
2009 “New Queen of the Scene” McGarry, Kevin, New York Times, Style, July
2006 “The Sad Beauty of Reparation” José Muñoz, Journal of Feminist Theory
“Society of the Spectacle” Lucy Martin, Art Review, n.3, pg. 64-65
“Rupture” Amelia Jones, 123 Parachute, n.8, pg. 15-37
“Nao Bustamante” (cover story) Times Union, April
“The Performativity of Race” José Esteban Muñoz, Signs, V.31 n.3
“Nao Bustamante’s Bad Girl Aesthetics” Gutiérrez, Chicana/o Studies, Arizona University
2005 “Fácil de digerir: Bustamante y Calderón” Alex Dorfsman & Yoshua Okon, Turner Libros
2004 “Transfronterizo como subversión” Antonio Prieto-Stambaugh, Disolvencias
2003 “20 Years/20 Artists’ at The LAB” Lindsey Westbrook, Artweek, V.34
“Scripting Sexual Tourism” Teresa Marrero, Theater Journal, V. 55, N. 2
2002 “A Brief History of Chicana California” Amalia Mesa-Bains, University California Press
“Burning Down the House: Feminist Art” Diana Fuller and Daniela Salvioni, UOC Press
“Pensar, aprender y goza” Vivian Martinez Tabares, Casa de las Américas
2001 “Circo, Maroma y Teatro” Antonio Prieto-Stambaugh, Ollantay, no. 18
1998 “Latinas Dished Out Good Stuff” Painted Bride Arts Center Publication, May
“Stuff” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March
“Intimate, Confrontational, Eclectic” Sharon Weightman, The Times Union, April
1997 “Nao Bustamante” Rosemary Weatherston, Theatre Journal, V. 49
“Fusco y Bustamante’s Stuff” Vaginal Davis, LA Weekly, Dec