English Is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas

Coco Fusco, Author
Coco Fusco, Author New Press $15 (232p) ISBN 978-1-56584-245-8
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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Cultural critic Fusco undermines notions of a monolithic Latino identity by examining the role of race in a broad spectrum of Latin American, U.S. and (to a lesser extent) British black and Latino culture and art. She puts together an illuminating pastiche of autobiographical political essays and art criticism along with transcripts of performance pieces developed in collaboration with performance artist and poet Guillermo Gomez-Pena. Points that seem obscure in the more theoretical pieces are made concrete in essays on specific artists' work and in satirical radio scripts. Fusco occasionally relies on postmodernist jargon, but it is for the most part not impenetrable. The strongest element by far is Fusco's writing on the work of artists Andres Serrano, Pepon Osorio, Lorna Simpson, Graciela Iturbide, Lourdes Grobet, Yolanda Andrade, Juan Sanchez, Ana Mendieta, Catalina Parra and the film collectives Black Audio and Sankofa. Her account of appearing in a cage with Gomez-Pena in a performance piece titled Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit... also stands out-it is simultaneously chilling and riotously funny. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
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