Claire Bishop

  • diary May 31, 2005

    Cheap Date

    Basel

    Continuing my season of badly timed research trips, I showed up in Basel two weeks before the art fair. My lure was the soon-to-close “Supershow” at the Kunsthalle, produced by the Danish trio Superflex (Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger, and Bjørnsterne Christiansen). The gimmick was simple: Everyone gets paid two Swiss francs to enter the gallery.

    It’s a token amount by anyone’s standards ($2), and buys you very little, particularly in Switzerland. (A cotton bag bearing the slogan “I was paid to go there,” costs six CHF.) Even so, I wanted to find out if this payoff would make a difference to the

  • NO PICTURES, PLEASE: THE ART OF TINO SEHGAL

    SO YOU WALK INTO THE TOP FLOOR of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to see This objective of that object, 2004, by Tino Sehgal, a British-born artist based in Berlin. There are five people standing around the galleries with their backs turned to you, simultaneously whispering, “The objective of this work is to be the object of a discussion.” Their voices get louder as they chant the sentence several times. A silence ensues. If you approach them, they wander off to the nearest wall, avoiding face-to-face contact. If nobody speaks, they wilt and collapse onto the floor. If, like me,

  • diary April 09, 2005

    Selective Memories

    London

    The lurid green cover of Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism has been haunting art historians since the end of last week. A formidable new textbook, with over a hundred short essays that add up to nothing less than a “comprehensive history of the art of the twentieth century” (as publishers Thames & Hudson put it), is set to strain our bookshelves. The four October heavies—Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and Yve-Alain Bois—arrived in Britain to promote their tome, first at the Association of Art Historians’ annual shindig in Bristol and then in

  • diary March 03, 2005

    Palaver North

    Nordland

    A meal, a workshop, a bonfire, a film screening, an interview, a hike...uh-oh! It’s relational art, rural style. Art in public has changed its flavor in the last ten years, from formal engagements with (preferably dramatic) sites to social collaborations with the locals. Few projects are more emblematic of this shift than “Artistic Interruptions” in Nordland, the outermost neck of Norway. Per Gunnar Tverbakk, the energetic organizer of this long-term program, argues that “interruption” is the operative word: His commissions aim to shake up forlorn, forgotten little towns by importing big name

  • diary February 15, 2005

    Dialectical Materialism

    Moscow

    Colorful rumors and breathless warnings about the perils of visiting the Moscow Biennale are circulating with predictable alacrity. According to the grapevine, a Dutch installation techie was found dumped outside the city, groggy from Rohypnol, and corrupt police are supposedly extorting money from foreign visitors under the pretense of “visa checks” (though flashing your press pass might deter them). And then there's the biennial itself, plagued with controversies and troubles. The full list of artists was announced mere weeks ago, whereas the lineup of usual-suspect Euro-curators (Daniel

  • diary January 25, 2005

    Art Is a Cabaret

    Mexico City

    Who knew that the SITAC conference is the art event in Mexico? The fourth International Symposium on Contemporary Art Theory proved to be a nonstop slew of private viewings and collectors’ parties complementing three long days in which a semiglittering array of art historians, theorists and critics slogged it out via an indefatigable (and often incomprehensible) translator. This year’s theme, chosen by artist Pablo Helguera, the symposium’s director and smooth host, was the relationship of art criticism to art history. Given the euphoric amnesia of most art magazines, this was a well-chosen