Wednesday, October 10, 2012


by Claire Bishop and Julia Bryan-Wilson

For the last decade, art historian and critic Claire Bishop has been unafraid to court controversy—her smart, sharply written opinions about everything from installation to collaboration are widely taught, cited, and debated. Her new book Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (Verso 2012), a sweeping reassessment of participation as an ideologically diverse crux of 20th century art, is sure to generate further discussion. For this interview, I asked Claire to have a conversation with me in real-time via live chat, rather than conducting it as a series of stiff, but more controllable, email volleys. She gamely agreed, so in July 2012 we sat down at our computers (she was in Paris, I was in Oakland). What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our dialogue.