Coco Fusco

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Coco Fusco
Born Juliana Emilia Fusco Miyares
(1960-06-18) June 18, 1960 (age 58)
New York City, New York
Nationality Cuban-American
Education Brown University (1982), Stanford University (1985), Middlesex University (2007)
Known for Interdisciplinary art, writing
Awards 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, 2003 Herb Alpert Award

Coco Fusco (born Juliana Emilia Fusco Miyares; June 18, 1960) is a Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator whose work has been exhibited and published internationally. Fusco's work explores gender, identity, race, and power through performance, video, interactive installations, and critical writing.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Fusco was born in 1960 in New York City. Her mother was a Cuban exile who had fled the Cuban revolution that year.[2]

She received a B.A in Semiotics from Brown University in 1982, an M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture from Middlesex University in 2005.[3]


After finishing graduate school in 1985, Fusco got involved with a group of Cuban artists, including Jose Bedia. She began traveling to Cuba and participating in the visual arts scene there, until in the mid-1990s she withdrew as a result of post-Cold War political and cultural changes in the country.[2]

Fusco has presented performances and videos in arts festivals worldwide, including the 56th Venice Biennale, two Whitney Biennials (2008, 1993), the Next Wave Festival at BAM, and Performa05.[4][5] She is the recipient of the 2016 Greenfield Prize in Visual Art, a 2014 Cintas Fellowship, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, a 2012 US Artists Fellowship, and a 2003 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, as well as grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA and NYFA.[2][6]

Two Undiscovered Amerindians...[edit]

In 1992 Fusco created the influential performance piece Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West in collaboration with Guillermo Gómez-Peña.[1] It was first presented at the Plaza Colón in Madrid and Covent Garden in London, then toured to the Australian Museum of Natural Science in Sydney and the Museum of Natural History in New York City.[7] The performance was filmed as part of the documentary The Couple in the Cage, directed by Paula Heredia.[1] During performances of Two Undiscovered Amerindians..., Fusco and Gómez-Peña put themselves on public display in a cage, in a satirical reference to the historical practice of exhibiting human beings as entertainment. They claimed to be natives of an undiscovered island in the Gulf of Mexico, and performed tasks and rituals that were explained by pseudoscientific informational materials posted as part of the performance piece.[1] Audience members were invited to interact with them, and could pay to take a photo or see them dance.[8] The work was a critique of colonialism, specifically of the role played by the scientific institutions in which it was performed, and a response to the global quincentenary celebrations of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[7]

Selected performances[edit]

Writing and Teaching[edit]

As a writer, Coco Fusco has focused on gender, race, colonialism, and power structures in Latin America and around the world. Her body of work includes interviews, critical essays, and six published books. Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba (2015) is a history of public space, performance, and identity in Cuba.[16] A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008), a companion volume to her performance A Room of One's Own: Women and Power in the New America (2005), examines the sexualized role of women in US military interrogations.[17] A Field Guide for Female Interrogators was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship T. R. Fyvel Book Award. Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (2003, edited with Brian Wallis), is the catalogue for a photography exhibition of the same name, curated by Fusco and Wallis at the International Center of Photography, which looked at racial imagery in photography and the representation of racial attitudes in the United States.[18][19] The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings (2001) is a collection of essays and interviews investigating the legacy of colonialism.[20] Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (2000) is a scholarly work surveying Latinx performance art.[21] English Is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (1995) was her first collection of interviews and essays, for which she won the 1995 Critics' Choice award.[22][23]

Fusco has taught on the arts faculties of Temple University, Columbia University, Parsons School of Design, and MIT. In 2014 she received a Fulbright appointment and served as the Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado in São Paulo, Brazil for one year. Fusco currently serves as the Andrew Banks Endowed Chair at the College of the Arts at University of Florida.[24][25]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Selected videos[edit]

Coco Fusco works distributed by the Video Data Bank include:

  • La Botella al Mar de María Elena (The Message in a Bottle from María Elena) (2015) 44:00, color, sound.
  • La Confesion (2015) 30:00, color, sound.
  • Operation Atropos (2006) 59:00 min, color, sound
  • a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert (2004) 31:00 min, B&W, sound
  • Pochonovela: A Chicano Soap Opera (1996) 26:38 min, color, sound
  • The Couple in the Cage: Guatianaui Odyssey (1993) 31:00 min, B&W and color, sound


  • Allatson, Paul. "Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and 'American' Cannibal Reveries." In Latino Dreams: Transcultural Traffic and the U.S. National Imaginary. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press, 2002.
  • Amich, Candice. "Playing Dead in Cuba: Coco Fusco's Stagings of Dissensus." Theatre Research International, vol. 34, no. 3, Oct. 2009, pp. 267–277. ISSN: 0307-8833
  • Becker, Carl L. The Subversive Imagination: Artists, Society, and Responsibility. New York: Routledge, 1994.
  • Cenini, Martha. "Coco Fusco's Room: Rethinking Feminism after Guantanamo". n.paradoxa vol. 30, 2012.
  • Copeland, Colette. "Art, Gender, Power, and the F Word: An Interview with Coco Fusco." Afterimage, vol. 35, no. 5, Mar/Apr2008, pp. 4–6. ISSN: 0300-7472
  • Cotter, Holland. "Caught on Video: Fantasy Interrogation, Real Tension". The New York Times. May 30, 2006, Section E/Column 1, p. 3.
  • Fusco, Coco. English is Broken Here. New York: The New Press, 1995.
  • Fusco, Coco (editor). Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Fusco, Coco. Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self. New York: International Center of Photography in Association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 2003.
  • Fusco, Coco. A Field Guide for Female Interrogators, New York, Seven Stories Press, 2008
  • Fusco, Coco. Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba, Tate Publishing, 2015
  • Jones, Amelia. Performing the Body/Performing the Text. London and New York: Routledge, 1999.
  • Wallace, Brian. Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America. New York: New York University Press, 1999.
  • Wallace, Michele. Black Popular Culture. New York: New Press, 1998.
  • Warr, Tracy. The Artist's Body. London: Phaidon, 2000.
  • Fusco, Coco. Pasos peligrosos. Performance y política en Cuba España: Turner, 2017. ISBN 9788416714421


  1. ^ a b c d e Carlson, Marvin (2013-12-16). Performance: A Critical Introduction. Routledge. ISBN 9781136498725. 
  2. ^ a b c "BOMB Magazine — Coco Fusco by Elia Alba". Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  3. ^ "Coco Fusco", Alexander Gray Associates. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
  4. ^ "Cuban Artists at the Venice Biennale". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  5. ^ "2008 WHITNEY BIENNIAL". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  6. ^ "Yale University School of Art: Coco Fusco". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  7. ^ a b Taylor, Diana (1998-01-01). "A Savage Performance: Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco's "Couple in the Cage"". TDR (1988-). 42 (2): 160–175. JSTOR 1146705. 
  8. ^ "BOMB Magazine — Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña by Anna Johnson". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  9. ^ Fusco, Coco; Bustamante, Nao (1997-01-01). "STUFF". TDR (1988-). 41 (4): 63–82. doi:10.2307/1146661. JSTOR 1146661. 
  10. ^ Allatson, Paul, "Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and 'American' Cannibal Reveries". In Latino Dreams: Transcultural Traffic and the U.S. National Imaginary. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press, 2002, pp. 253–306.
  11. ^ Weatherstone, Rosemary. "Stuff review", Project MUSE. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
  12. ^ "Coco Fusco". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  13. ^ Beckman, Karen (2009). "Gender, Power, and Pedagogy in Coco Fusco's "Bare Life Study" #1 (2005), "A Room of One's Own" (2005), and "Operation Atropos" (2006)". Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. 50: 125–138. JSTOR 41552543. 
  14. ^ Expósito, As told to Frank. "Coco Fusco talks about her latest performance". (in en_US). Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  15. ^ Alba, Elia (2014-08-05). "Uncaged: Coco Fusco and Planet of the Apes". Art21 Magazine. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  16. ^ Banks, Grace. "Artist Coco Fusco On Her New Book About Politics in Cuba". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  17. ^ Dolan, Jill (2009-01-01). Fusco, Coco, ed. "The Art of Interrogation". The Women's Review of Books. 26 (2): 3–4. JSTOR 20476818. 
  18. ^ Veneciano, Jorge Daniel (2005-01-01). Fusco, Coco; Wallis, Brian, eds. "Tinting the American Subject". Art Journal. 64 (1): 113–115. doi:10.2307/20068372. JSTOR 20068372. 
  19. ^ "Skin Games". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  20. ^ Heiferman, Marvin; Bolt, Tom; Juarez, Roberto; Hunt, David; Anglesey, Zoë; Krasnow, David; Turner, Grady T.; Rosler, Martha; Harvey, Matthea (2002-01-01). "Editor's Choice". BOMB (80): 16–22. JSTOR 40426700. 
  21. ^ Rivera-Servera, Ramón H. (2001-01-01). "Review of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas". Theatre Journal. 53 (1): 172–173. JSTOR 25068896. 
  22. ^ Kranz, Rachel (1995-01-01). Fusco, Coco, ed. "Culture Crosser". The Women's Review of Books. 12 (12): 11–11. doi:10.2307/4022231. JSTOR 4022231. 
  23. ^ Baugh, Scott L. (2012-04-13). Latino American Cinema: An Encyclopedia of Movies, Stars, Concepts, and Trends: An Encyclopedia of Movies, Stars, Concepts, and Trends. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313380372. 
  24. ^ "". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  25. ^ "Coco Fusco | College of the Arts | University of Florida". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 

External links[edit]