It’s ten years since Claire Bishop published Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (Verso, 2012). In anticipation of a reprint to mark the book’s tenth anniversary, this talk will gauge the development of participation over the last decade in art and performance (and beyond). It will revisit the book’s blind spots—namely, omissions concerning technology and race–and reflect on how the book’s central aesthetic argument, in favor of antagonism, has lost force in the last decade.
Claire Bishop is a critic and professor in the PhD Program in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (Verso, 2012), and Radical Museology, or, What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art? (Walther König, 2013). She is a Contributing Editor of Artforum, and her essays and books have been translated into twenty languages. She is currently completing two books: a short publication about Merce Cunningham’s Events, and a collection of essays about contemporary art and attention. Her most recent publication is a book of conversations with Cuban artist Tania Bruguera (Cisneros, 2020).