VIEWING ACTS: Contemporary Art and Audience Relations featuring Claire Bishop, Coco Fusco, Alan Gilbert, Grant Kester, and Walid Raad

Panel Discussion Thu 5 May 2005 6.30PM-8.30PM The New School, Wollman Hall
55 West 11th Street (enter at 66 West 12th Street), 5th Floor
Admission: $8, free for all students, as well as New School faculty, staff and alumni with valid ID
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The past decade has seen artists, critics, and scholars significantly rethink interactive relationships between artworks and audiences. One prominent version of this interactivity is known as "relational aesthetics," a theory attributed to French curator and critic Nicolas Bourriaud. The phrase has come to designate a particular connection between the form, experience, and meaning of the work of art and its intended or imagined audience. Other critics have described this type of relationship as dialogical. Understood as collaborative, reciprocating, frequently site-specific, and usually transient, relational and dialogical art practices take as their conceptual horizon the realms of exchange between artist, artwork, and audience.

This panel will address current dominant approaches to an aesthetics and politics of relation. Featuring presentations by Claire Bishop, Coco Fusco, and Grant Kester, followed by a conversation with Alan Gilbert and 2004/05 Vera List Fellow Walid Raad, the panel will focus on topics such as the limits and possibilities of interactive relations, and the various institutional and cultural contexts for these relations. Consisting of important scholars and artists writing and thinking about contemporary cultural production, the panel aims to provide a timely and needed contribution to practices subsumed by ideas of relational and dialogical aesthetics.

Claire Bishop, Leverhulme Research Fellow in the department of Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College, London. Her critique of relational aesthetics, "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics", was published in October, no.110, fall 2004.
Coco Fusco, interdisciplinary artist and writer, Associate Professor, Visual Arts Division of Columbia University's School of Arts.
Alan Gilbert, poet and a writer, editor of NYFA Quarterly.
Grant Kester, art historian and critic, Associate Professor, UCSD, department of Visual Studies. Author of Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (University of California Press, 2004).
Walid Raad, media artist, Assistant Professor, Cooper Union, New York.