An Interview with the Artist Coco Fusco

3 a.m magazine interviews Coco Fusco about her performance art, globalization and sex workers.

3AM: Your show works round a real story.

CF: The thing that got me going was that five years ago I was in Australia performing another piece and I was talking to all these artists and critics and I was talking to an artist and I was telling him that I’d done a piece about a year before in which I was in a coffin. He said ‘Do you like to lay dead? And have you heard of this guy from California who went to Mexico and bought a dead woman and had sex with her as performance art?’ I had never heard of this and I thought this was outrageous and appalling and I asked for more details. And he said that he didn’t know very many details but there was some allusion to it in some very trashy book about the art world. I asked for the name of the book and then I ran into the bathroom and wrote in on the back of my hand because I didn’t want him to know that I was really intrigued by this. Then I went back home and found the allusion. It didn’t name the guy but it said that he’d made an audio tape of this thing that he’d wanted to have exhibited in museums. He had gone to this museum director who works in California and he had been horrified and made it known that he would never do it. But he describes the tape in the book. And that was it! Now it turned out that I knew that museum director vaguely so I had to figure out how I was going to approach him twenty years later top talk about this.

Finally, I just sent him an e–mail. He replied saying that he vowed never to mention this guy again and would never do anything to help him in his career because he was so horrified. OK, so he was really affected by this. This guy was from LA, seventies, the body art scene, where all these weirdoes were nailing themselves to cars and shooting themselves and throwing themselves in lockers and doing all sorts of strange things. So I thought I must be able to figure out who he was, someone who knew about this, or had known him and so on. There must be someone who was there who witnessed the confession.