In 2008, Pedro Reyes' 'Palas por Pistolas' project collected over 1,500 guns donated from residents of the Mexican city of Culiacán, where shooting is rife, and melted them into shovels that were used to plant the same number of trees.

Subsequently, the Mexican Army donated 6,700 weapons which Pedro Reyes converted into musical instruments in his project 'Disarm' (2013). The piece was included in the 'Art or Sound' exhibition curated by Germano Celant at Fondazione Prada in Venice in 2014. Then last autumn, Reyes created 'Doomocracy', a satirical haunted house at the Brooklyn Army Terminal that included around six fright scenarios critiquing various industries. One room featured a funeral home specialising in coffins made in the shape of the deceased person's favourite processed food; in another, cheerleaders sang about abortion; a third included a sort of Tupperware party for handguns.

Installation image of Pedro Reyes at Lisson Gallery, New York (28 February – 15 April, 2017). Courtesy Lisson Gallery
On a softer note, the 44-year-old artist also makes sculptures from volcanic stone. He has spoken about how volcanic stone appeals to him due to its importance in Mexico's landscape and how it has long been used by Mexicans to grind corn. Indeed, Pedro Reyes decided to make a new series of sculptures from volcanic stone for his first solo show at Lisson Gallery in New York. Lacking political punch, however, this sees Reyes making work that has more of a commercial sensitivity and reveals his ambition to align himself with his artist heroes. Here Reyes is questioning his role in art history and his identity as an artist, and exploring the formal language of sculpture.

Besides the formalistic pieces in volcanic stone, there are others made from Carrara marble, such as a marble skeleton sitting on a volcanic plinth. The sculptures fill the gallery space, while the two long walls are covered in a floor-to-ceiling suite of 156 drawings, some of which relate to artistic figures such as Le Corbusier, conceptual artist Lee Lozano, Italian-born Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi and Vietnamese filmmaker Trinh T Minh-ha. It's an ambitious show both in output and the range of ideas, demonstrating Reyes determination to juggle different balls in his multifarious practice.

Installation image of Pedro Reyes at Lisson Gallery, New York (28 February – 15 April, 2017). Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Pedro Reyes: Anne Sexton, 2017 Charcoal on card 51 1/8 x 35 3/8 inches (130 x 90 cm) © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Pedro Reyes Emblem, 2017 Acrylic on card 51 1/8 x 35 3/8 inches (130 x 90 cm) © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Pedro Reyes: Homer, 2017 Volcanic stone 33 1/2 x 28 3/4 x 25 5/8 inches (85 x 73 x 65 cm) © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
Pedro Reyes. Courtesy Lisson Gallery