Performing Exile: Cuban-American Women’s Performance Art, 1972-2014


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


This dissertation examines Ana Mendieta, Carmelita Tropicana, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Coco Fusco together, arguing that their work embodies diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in the late twentieth century, such as the 1960 embargo and 2001 Third Border Initiative. Case studies of select works by each artist use archival research, oral history interviews, and discourse, performance, and visual analyses in conversation with critical race, intersectional feminist, and queer theoretical lenses to show how they use the body in performance and performative works—as well as in installation, photo, and video documentation—to track the experience of exile from political event to its impact on the diaspora community through policy’s scripting of citizenship. The resonating effects of exile can be seen in meditating on Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s work in relationship to President Barack Obama’s 2014 announcement of normalizing relations between the two countries.