Claire Bishop

  • Left: Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni looks at a piece by Marcel van Eeden. Right: Anri Sala with Olaf Nicolai.
    diary March 27, 2006

    Bleak Chic


    The idea of The Wrong Gallery curating a biennial inevitably conjures a myriad of preconceptions—daft japes, irreverent pranks, slapstick-a-go-go. Six months ago, Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni, and Ali Subotnick set up a renegade franchise of Gagosian Gallery. It was also rumored that whenever they were asked a question about the Biennale, they replied with an answer/work by Tino Sehgal. Their chosen title, “Of Mice and Men,” thus seemed to auger a panoply of stuffed animals (as befits Cattelan’s oeuvre) and trickster hoaxes, rather than an engagement with John Steinbeck’s melancholic

  • Left: Jonathan Meese performs at the Tate Modern. Right: Jonathan Meese. (Photo: Sheila Burnett)
    diary March 01, 2006

    Performance Anxiety


    How do you organize an academic conference on Martin Kippenberger, that most rock ’n’ roll of artists? Well, you don’t. Tate Modern anticipated this problem, and last Saturday presented three informal lectures on the late German rollercoaster. Sadly, all of them fell a little flat. The highlight came in the form of Kippenberger himself, when Daniel Baumann (Museum of Fine Arts, Bern) showed us Christoph Doering’s 3302 (1979) an artist’s film of a taxi ride around Kippenberger’s Berlin milieu: After repeatedly accelerating toward the Berlin Wall, the taxi careens through the city at night, carrying

  • Phil Collins, they shoot horses, 2004, stills from a two-channel digital video, 7 hours.


    All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that’s more social, more collaborative, and more real than art. —Dan Graham

    SUPERFLEX’S INTERNET TV STATION for elderly residents of a Liverpool housing project (Tenantspin, 1999); Annika Eriksson’s inviting groups and individuals to communicate their ideas and skills at the Frieze Art Fair (Do you want an audience? 2003); Jeremy Deller’s Social Parade for more than twenty social organizations in San Sebastián (2004); Lincoln Tobier’s training local residents in Aubervilliers, northeast Paris, to produce half-hour radio programs (Radio Ld’A,

  • Left: Virginia Damtsa and Nicholas Logsdail. Right: Gelatin member Ali Janka.
    diary October 21, 2005

    Gin Biz


    It’s that time of year again. Several thousand specimens of international art trash and flash have descended on London for the Frieze Art Fair. The first site of infestation was the Turner Prize exhibition opening at Tate Britain Monday night. What work was visible through the swarm of bodies revealed what seemed to be a surprisingly evenly matched line-up. Simon Starling, the local favorite, chose to obstruct the first room with his vast ShedBoatShed (Mobile Architecture No. 2), 2005, a shed that became a boat and then, you’ve guessed it, was reassembled to become a shed again. After maneuvering

  • Left: The entrance to the Giardini. Right: Artists Tino Sehgal and Gilbert and George. (Photos: Roman Mensing)
    diary June 15, 2005

    Fairer Fare


    Who would have thought we’d be pining for the chaos of “Utopia Station”? This year’s Arsenale show, “Always a Little Further,” was a pared-down affair, but featured so much heavy-handed installation that it seemed a major throwback to the eighties and nineties. Indeed, with a veteran feminist agenda to boot, much of the work was well past its sell-by date of 1989. The fact that “best newcomer” prize was given to young Guatemalan body artist Regina José Galindo says it all: She shaves herself naked in public, creates a trail of bloody footprints in the streets, and videotapes her own hymenoplasty.

  • Remote Possibilities: A Roundtable Discussion on Land Art’s Changing Terrain

    TIM GRIFFIN A number of artists have recently executed high-profile projects in remote places—“remote,” at least, from traditional art-world centers. In fact, we can count three individuals participating today among them: Pierre and his recent voyage to Antarctica, Rirkrit and the Land in Thailand, and Andrea with her High Desert Test Sites near Joshua Tree. Realizing, of course, that there are significant differences among these projects—and I hope we’ll shed good light on a few of these—working in a “remote” location seems to be a broader trend (think also of projects by Carsten Höller, Tacita

  • Left: The first room in “Supershow.” Middle: A ticket and the two CHF payment. Right: Bjørnsterne Christiansen.
    diary May 31, 2005

    Cheap Date


    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


    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,

  • Left: The crowd at Tate Modern. Right: Panelists Hal Foster, Mark Godfrey, Benjamin H.D. Buchloch, and Briony Fer.
    diary April 09, 2005

    Selective Memories


    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

  • Left: Phil Collins in front of a Dan Graham pavilion. Right: Per Gunnar Tverbakk.
    diary March 03, 2005

    Palaver North


    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

  • Left: Francesco Manacorda looking at Oleg Kulik's Starz, 2005. Right: Christian Boltanksi's Odessa's Ghosts, 2005.
    diary February 15, 2005

    Dialectical Materialism


    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