Pedro Reyes studied architecture but considers himself a sculptor.
His works integrate elements of theater, psychology, and activism and take a variety of forms, from penetrable sculptures (Cápulas, 2002-08) to puppet productions (The permanent revolution, 2014 and Manufacturing Mischief, 2018). In 2008, Reyes initiated the ongoing Palas por Pistolas project in which 1,527 guns were collected in Mexico through a voluntary donation campaign to produce the same number of shovels to plant 1,527 trees. This led to Disarm (2012), where 6,700 destroyed guns were transformed into a series of musical instruments.
In 2011, Reyes started Sanatorium, a transient clinic offering brief unexpected treatments mixing art and psychology. Originally commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum, New York, Sanatorium has been in operation at Documenta 13, Kassel (2012), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013), The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2014) and OCA, São Paulo (2015) among 10 other venues. In 2013, he presented the first edition of pUN: The People's United Nations at the Queens Museum in New York. pUN is an experimental conference in which ordinary citizens act as delegates from each of the UN countries and try to apply techniques and resources from social psychology, theater, art and conflict resolution to geopolitics.
In 2015, he received the U.S. State Department Medal for the Arts and the Ford Foundation Fellowship. In late 2016, he presented Doomocracy, an immersive theatrical installation commissioned by Creative Time. He held a visiting faculty position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the fall of 2016. Recently, Reyes was commissioned by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists together with ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and winners of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to raise awareness of the growing risk of nuclear conflict. For that project, he developed Atomic Amnesia / Zero Nukes, which was presented in Times Square in May 2022 and the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. For his work on disarmament, Reyes received the Luxembourg Peace Prize in 2021. In the last year, Reyes held three survey shows: ESCULTURA SOCIAL at the MARCO Museum in Monterrey, SOCIATRY at the MARTa Herford Museum in Germany, and DIRECT ACTION at SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico.