Nao Bustamante: America, the Beautiful


Photo/ Foto: Marlène Ramírez Cancio

America, the Beautiful

America, the Beautiful is a body-narrative, which begins with the performer literally setting the stage. Through the rituals of feminine transformation, using clear packing tape and haphazard make-up, Bustamante creates a distorted reality of beauty with all of its eros and defeat. This tragic/comedy takes the viewer on a bizarre circus-like adventure of ladder climbing and breath-holding tension.


Nao Bustamante is an internationally known performance art pioneer originating from the San Joaquin Valley of California. She received her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in the field of New Genres. Her work encompasses performance art, installation, video, pop music and experimental rips in time. Some of Her collaborators include Coco Fusco, D.L. Alvarez, and Chico MacMurtrie. Bustamante's work has been presented, among other sites at, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. She has performed in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico and of course the United States. Most recently she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and a residency to develop an interactive web site through the Franklin Furnace in New York. Using the body as a source of image, narrative and emotion, Nao's performances communicate on the level of subconscious language taking the spectator on a bizarre journey, with haunting images, cracking stereotypes by embodying them. America, the beautiful originated at the improvisational festival, Engaging the Imagination (San Francisco). America... now a fully developed exploration, finds it's nature to be flux and evolutionary.