Open on Wednesdays from 12-5pm and Thursday through Sunday from 12-6pm. Thursday through Sunday: 12PM -6PM. Please note the museum will be closed on July 24th and 25th for installation. Only our main gallery will be open through September 3rd

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A Performance Art Trinity: Nao Bustamante, Marga Gomez and Carmelita Tropicana

Oct 21, 2022 - Oct 21, 2022
Hosted by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles

Online Event: October 21st, 6:30-8:30PM EST

Join the Franklin Furnace Archive’s digital LOFT in partnership with Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art for a virtual performance.

What happens when three Queer Latina/x performance art luminaries gather for an evening of laughter, conversation and reflections? Considering humor as a strategy for survival in navigating race, gender, immigration through the generations and today, what does it mean to be Latina/x right now? What does it mean to embrace and reject labels? The guests for this unconventional program have used cabaret, stand-up comedy, video, live TV, writing and film to voice some of the pressing issues of the times: from colonization to political embargoes to exile. They have also relied on humor to deliver messages that are not always easy to convey, and have gone so far as to fight for the plight against the U.S. appropriation of the Cuban Mojito, pose as a “real” exhibitionist at the late Joan Rivers’ talk show, and claim a toilet plunger as an objet d’art. Those in attendance get to be blessed by the presence of these three cult figures and, of course, to ask them questions.

Accessibility: This is an online event. Auto-captions will be provided via zoom. For additional access requests please email at least one week before the event.

Moderator and Artist Bios

Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively through creative experiences that he helps unfold within the quotidian. Born in Quisqueya (Mother of all lands), he was baptized as a Bronxite, a citizen of the Bronx, in 2011. Nicolás is the founding director of The Interior Beauty Salon, an organism living at the intersection of creativity and healing: @interiorbeautysalon

Carmelita Tropicana is a writer and performer, who uses irreverent humor and fantasy to challenge cultural stereotypes and rewrite history from multiple perspectives. By performing hyperbolic feminine and masculine personas, as well as numerous animals, insects, and fantasy creatures, she challenges historical and narrative authority. Her work addresses political issues and looks at the intersections that exist between ethnicity, sexuality, gender, race and class. Awards and fellowships include: LatinX Artists Fellowship (2022), United States Artists Fellowship (2021), CLAGS, Center for Lesbian and Gays Studies José Muñoz Award (2021), Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), Creative Capital (2016) Anonymous Was A Woman (2005), and an Obie (1999).

Her writing has appeared in many anthologies, most recently in Animal Acts, Performing Species Today (University of Michigan Press, 2015). A collection of scripts, short stories and essay appear in her book I, Carmelita Tropicana, Performing Between Cultures (2000) published by Beacon Press. She sits on the Board of Directors of the New York Foundation for the Arts and Soho Rep.

Her long time collaborators are Ela Troyano and Uzi Parnes.

MARGA GOMEZ (She,Her,They,Them) is the writer/performer of fourteen solo plays which have been presented nationally, internationally and virtually. She is an awardee of a 2022 USA Fellowship, a 2021 Center For Cultural Innovation grant and a GLAAD Media Award. Her acting credits include theatre roles: American Conservatory Theater’s “Fefu And Her Friends” 2022, Off-Broadway Ars Nova production of “Dr. Rides American Beach House” (2019) and television “Sense8” (Netflix.) NBC named her one of eleven “Out Latinos you should know.” Gomez teaches autobiographical performance online at

Nao Bustamante is a legendary artist, residing in Los Angeles, California. Bustamante’s precarious work encompasses performance art, video installation, filmmaking, sculpture and writing. The New York Times says, “She has a knack for using her body.” Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world.

She has exhibited, among other locales, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sundance International Film Festival/New Frontier, Outfest International Film Festival, El Museo del Barrio Museum of Contemporary Art, First International Performance Biennial, Deformes in Santiago, Chile and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. She was also an unlikely contestant on TV network, Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.” In 2001 she received the Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and in 2007 named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. In 2008 She received the Chase Legacy award in Film (In conjunction with Kodak and HBO). And was the Artist in Residence of the American Studies Association in 2012. In 2013, Bustamante was awarded the (Short-term) CMAS-Benson Latin American Collection Research Fellowship and also a Makers Muse Award from the Kindle Foundation. In 2014/15 Bustamante was Artist in Residence at UC Riverside and in 2015 she was a UC MEXUS Scholar in Residence in preparation for a solo exhibit at Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles. In 2020 Bustamante’s VR film, “The Wooden People” received a producing grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation, and the National Performance Network and will be presented at REDCAT in 2021. 2021 also brought her success with her new research project, “BLOOM,” in which she is determined to redesign the speculum and take a stern look at the history of the pelvic examination. “BLOOM” has been supported by COLA (City of Los Angeles) fellowship, an Artpace Residency, and a USC Arts and Humanities award.

Bustamante is alum of the San Francisco Art Institute, and in 2020 she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from her alma mater, SFAI. She also attend Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Currently she holds the position of Professor of Art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design.

For past work, see: For current activities, see: