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December 2018

Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña: The Couple in the Cage: Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West

In Search of a Recuperative Aesthetics

A foundational performance in parafictional art by Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez- Peña, The Couple in the Cage: Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West was performed at various venues from 1992–1994. Perhaps its most potent performance was staged at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, a museum institution that has a legacy of displaying human subjects (such as for during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition) and continues to present exhibits on non-Western cultures under the banner as of natural history. Many museumgoers who witnessed the performance believed Fusco and Gómez- Peña to be actual representatives from an undiscovered island, and though the Field Museum was did not displaying them as human oddities, the colonial legacies and ongoing issues of exotification, racism, and power invoked by the performance were very real. Fusco’s later performance works, such as A Room of One’s Own, engage with similar issues.

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