Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship
  • Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship
  • Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship

Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship

by Claire Bishop
     
 

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A searing critique of participatory art by an iconoclastic historian.See more details below

Overview

A searing critique of participatory art by an iconoclastic historian.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Since the early 1990s, there has been significant global artistic interest in participation and collaboration in conceptual and performance art. In this critically astute and provocative study, City University of New York art historian Bishop (Installation Art: A Critical History) analyzes the meaning of what results from participatory art rather than solely emphasizing its artistic process. Bishop divides her incisive and meticulously researched study of participatory art into three sections: a theoretical introduction to the genre, contextualizing it in the Italian Futurists, Russian proletkult, and Dada; case studies in participatory art such as the Situationist International, Argentinian art of the late 1960s led by Oscar Masotta, and Brazilian director Augusto Boal’s theater of social change; and contemporary art performance and pedagogy. Bishop’s arguments are convincingly supported and potentially very contentious. She suggests that participatory art makes the ethics of interpersonal interaction more important than politics and social justice concerns, and that activist art is not enough for social change—other institutions are necessary. A critically challenging work of vital scholarship, the book will be of greatest interest to art historians, art theorists, artists, and cultural critics. (July)
Boris Groys
“The good intentions of contemporary artists frequently pave a road to hell. Claire Bishop follows their descent into the inferno and invites her readers to share her fascination with what she finds along the way. Artificial Hells combines vast historical knowledge with a precise analysis of individual artistic practices. So much so that at the end of her new book we have begun to fall in love with hell – under the condition that it remains artificial.”
From the Publisher
“Claire Bishop has articulated an important historical overview of the global emergence of participatory art ... Her controversial and thought-provoking conclusions courageously trouble our assumptions about the effectiveness of political artworks, questioning their oppositional quality, their effects on the audiences they reach, and their relation to the institutions that promote them.”—Frank Jewett Mather Award, 2013

“Bishop’s arguments are convincingly supported and potentially very contentious...A critically challenging work of vital scholarship.”—Publishers Weekly

“An essential title for contemporary art history scholars and students as well as anyone who has witnessed a participatory art ‘happening’ and thought, ‘Now that’s art!’ or ‘That’s art?’”—Library Journal

“Bishop seeks a standard for judging participatory works...She draws on the writings of French philosopher Jacques Rancière to argue that art must maintain a degree of autonomy and unreadability in order to resist co-option by the political and economic forces intent on imposing a false social consensus.”—Eleanor Heartney, Art in America

“Pellucid”—Alexander Provan, New York Observer

“The good intentions of contemporary artists frequently pave a road to hell. Claire Bishop follows their descent into the inferno and invites her readers to share her fascination with what she finds along the way. Artificial Hells combines vast historical knowledge with a precise analysis of individual artistic practices. So much so that at the end of her new book we have begun to fall in love with hell—under the condition that it remains artificial.”—Boris Groys, author of Art Power

Library Journal
Bishop (art history, CUNY Graduate Ctr.; Installation Art: A Critical History and Participation) focuses squarely on participatory art, including André Breton's 1921 Parisian Grande Saison Dada, a season full of sensational performances that has been internationally popular since the early 1990s. The title is both a positive and negative descriptor of participatory art, which Bishop identifies as art that requires the involvement of many people. The book is divided into three parts: key terms and motivations, historical case studies, and a history of the post-1989 period that focuses on two contemporary tendencies in participatory art: "delegated performance" and "pedagogic projects." VERDICT An essential title for contemporary art history scholars and students as well as anyone who has witnessed a participatory art "happening" and thought "Now, that's art!" or "That's art?"—Jennifer H. Krivickas, Univ. of Cincinnati Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844676903
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
07/24/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
390
Sales rank:
726,699
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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