Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival: Conversation with Coco Fusco

  • Lessons from Activist Histories with Coco Fusco

    On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) hosted a virtual conversation with award-winning artist and writer Coco Fusco. Learn more about her work that examines the complex relationships between art, politics, and identity since the 1990s. Fusco is joined in conversation by Rhea Combs, curator of film and photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Saisha Grayson, time-based media curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This program discusses Fusco’s 2004 video "a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert," which explores the role of photography in the FBI’s hunt for and trial of Black Power activist Angela Davis, and the 2015 film "La botella al mar de María Elena". Take a closer look at how government surveillance impacts activists of the past, present, and future during this timely virtual conversation. All artwork clips have been removed from this event recording.

    This program is part of the SAAM’s third annual Virtual Women Filmmakers Festival. Presented completely online, the festival ran from March 1-21, 2021, in honor of Women’s History Month and is supported by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story. Organized around the theme of “Her History Lessons,” the festival’s featured artists are Cecelia Vicuña, Coco Fusco, and Mariam Ghani. Each artist creates works that look to the past for insights into today's urgent issues. Considering the momentous events of 2020, the selected videos reflect on colonial histories and the growing climate crisis; legacies of artists, activists, and state repression; and more than a century of pandemics tied to social upheavals.

    This program is made possible by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story, and is co-presented with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.