Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, MacArthur “genius” fellow Coco Fusco was surrounded by the vibrant Afro-Cuban culture of her family and community. This culture has had a profound influence on her work as an artist, which explores themes of identity, race, and gender through a variety of media, including performance art, video, photography, and installation.
Fusco’s art is often magical and surreal, conjuring up images of her Afro-Cuban heritage in ways that are both playful and thought-provoking. In her video installation “A Field Guide to Men,” for example, she uses the metaphor of the animal kingdom to explore the ways in which men and women are treated differently in society. In her performance piece “The Rape of the Sabine Women,” she subverts the traditional male gaze by retelling the story of the Roman abduction of the Sabine women from a female perspective.
Fusco’s work has been exhibited at major museums and galleries around the world, and she has received numerous awards and honors, including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is a professor of interdisciplinary studies at Parsons School of Design in New York City.
In a recent interview with NPR, Fusco spoke about the importance of her Afro-Cuban roots to her work as an artist:
“I think my Afro-Cuban heritage is essential to my work. It’s the basis of my identity, and it’s shaped my worldview. I’m interested in exploring the ways in which Afro-Cuban culture has been shaped by colonialism, slavery, and racism. But I’m also interested in celebrating the beauty and resilience of Afro-Cuban culture.”
Fusco’s art is a powerful and moving testament to the Afro-Cuban experience. It is art that challenges us to think about our own identities and biases, and to celebrate the diversity of human culture.