Coco Fusco (b.1960) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who explores the politics of gender, race, war, and identity through multi-media productions incorporating large-scale projections, closed-circuit television, web-based live streaming performances with audience interaction, as well as performances that actively engage with audiences. Over the past twenty-five years, Fusco has investigated the ways that intercultural dynamics affect the construction of the self and ideas about cultural otherness. Her work is informed by multicultural and postcolonial discourses as well as by feminist and psychoanalytic theories, yielding art projects about ethnographic displays, animal psychology, sex tourism in the Caribbean, labor conditions in free trade zones, suppressed colonial records of indigenous struggles, and military interrogation in the War on Terror. Much of her recent work focuses on Cuban culture in the post-Communist era.
Fusco’s work will be the subject of a 2023 retrospective Tomorrow, I Will Become an Island presented by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, and an extensive monograph of the same name will be published by Thames & Hudson. Her work is included in the 2023 Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present, and was recently on view in the Whitney Biennial Quiet as It’s Kept, co-curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards (2022); Manifesta 11 What People Do For Money, curated by Christian Jankowski, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor; and at the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Germany, curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose (2015). Fusco’s performances and videos have been included in the 69th Berlinale (2019); 8th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2010); the 2008 and 1993 Whitney Biennials; VideoBrasil, São Paulo (2005); Performa 05, New York (2005); Shanghai Biennale, China (2004); Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa (1997); London International Theatre Festival, England (1995); and Sydney Biennale, Australia (1992), among others. Her work has recently been featured at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2018); Dallas Museum of Art, TX (2017); Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2016); Brooklyn Museum, NY (2015); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2014); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2014); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2013); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX (2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2012); and Tate Liverpool, England (2010), among others.
Fusco is a Professor at the Cooper Union School of Art. She is the author of Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba (2015); English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (1995); The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings (2001); and A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008). She is the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (2003). She contributes regularly to The New York Review of Books and numerous art publications.
Fusco has won numerous awards, including the 2021 Anonymous Was A Woman Award; the 2021 Latinx Artist Fellowship, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; American Academy of Arts and Letters Arts Award (2021); Rabkin Foundation Prize for Art Journalism (2018); Greenfield Prize in Visual Art (2016); CINTAS Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship (2014–2015); Guggenheim Fellowship (2013); Absolut Art Award for Art Writing (2013); USA Berman Bloch Fellow (2012); and Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2003).
Fusco received her B.A. in Semiotics from Brown University (1982), her M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (1985), and her Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture from Middlesex University (2007). Since 1988, she has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world.