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Contemporary kicks off CoHost series at Baltimore School for the Arts with Coco Fusco

January 14, 2014
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cocoThe lights dim in the packed Baltimore School for the Arts ballroom as Contemporary museum director Deana Haggag thanks the partners for the museum’s inaugural CoHost speaker series and introduces the New York-based artist Coco Fusco.

Fusco is a fitting choice to begin the series because her work challenges the boundaries of art and museum representation as the Contemporary expands the boundaries of what a museum can be here in Baltimore. Fusco’s talk focused on her recent performance as Dr. Zari the character from the Planet of the Apes science fiction films, “Observation of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist,” at the Studio Museum in Harlem in late 2013. Fusco’s observations through Zari on the exploitation and violence of contemporary American culture are especially relevant to Baltimore as we embark on a new year where violence and an astounding 16 murders plague our city. Less summary of the Planet of the Apes films and more depth on the actual observations of Dr. Zira would have given the talk more impact; however, Fusco’s discussion pushed the public to recognize how we are all implicated in the culture of violence.

Artist Nick Cave speaks on February 18 as the second installment of the CoHosts series. For more on Fusco’s work see Brett McCabe’s interview with Fusco from this week’s City Paper.

(photo by Olivia Obineme courtesy of The Contemporary)