Author(s): Claire Bishop
Art that seeks to produce situations in which relations are formed among viewers is placed in historical and theoretical context in key writings by critics and artists.
"The current focus on relational aesthetics seems to have been largely detrimental to a more complex, nuanced and art-historically informed discussion on participatory practices. Claire Bishop's thoughtful anthology will hopefully begin to remedy this situation. Her book provides the theoretical and historical tools that are essential to perform a closer reading of participatory practices, current and past. Precisely organized and carefully selected, this anthology will surely be consulted widely, both by professionals and students. To its usefulness and clarity, Bishop's book adds a concern for a geographically expanded field of inquiry, so that her version of history is gladly one that does not disregard the evidence -- as much recent writing unfortunately still does -- when it comes from outside the well-trodden paths of the Western canon." ---Carlos Basualdo, Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art "Claire Bishop has distilled an opinionated treasury of analytical writings, empirical narration, and curatorial criticism. Her editorial enterprise results in a volume that lays out key concepts intrinsic to recent participatory art practices and illuminates a cross-section of social dynamics such practices activate and express." --Julie Ault, artist, co-founder of Group Material "A rigorous introduction to debates on the relations between art and society, community and collective agency, from the rise of socially based art in the 1960s to the present... What is an authentic concept of contemporary democracy, and how can art address it? What is the social value of participatory authorship, and what are the aesthetic limits of the social turn in art? These are crucial questions today, and this is an inexhaustible resource for those who want to answer them." --Viktor Misiano, Curator and Chief Editor of Moscow Art Magazine
Claire Bishop is the author of Installation Art: A Critical History and a contributor to many art journals, including ArtForum, Flash Art, and October. She is a Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Warwick.