Icelandic Art Center
Icelandic Art Center
20. 03 2012
Talk Series: Claire Bishop

Wednesday 21 March 8 p.m. at Hafnarhús


Claire Bishop is the second participant in TALK Series, a collaborative lecture program initiated by Reykjavik Art Museum, the Icelandic Art Center and the Icelandic Academy of the Arts. Bishop will give a lecture on Wednesday 21 March 8 p.m. at Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhus, on the topic of delegated performance with reference to the work of Santiago Sierra, currently on show at Hafnarhus.


One of the most prevalent tendencies in visual art performance since the early 1990s has been the hiring of non-professionals to do performances, rather than these events being undertaken by the artists themselves (as was the case in the majority of body art works of the 1960s-80s). Because this type of performance involves the artist uses other people as the material of his or her work, it has occasioned heated debate about the ethics of representation. Bishop argues against such ethical readings of these works in favour of a more complex and troubling understanding of the social dynamics at play in this type of performance. Informed by Klossowski’s text La monnaie vivante, and the itinerant European performance project inspired by this book (by the French curator Pierre Bal-Blanc), I argue that the outsourcing of labour in delegated performance reveals our persistent desire to be exhibited and exploited.


Claire Bishop is a British – New York based art historian and critic. She is editor of the highly regarded volumes Participation (2006) and Installation Art: A Critical History (2005) and is a contributor to many art journals including Artforum, Flash Art, and October; her essay “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” which appeared in October in 2004, remains an influential critique of relational aesthetics. She is a professor of History of Art Department at CUNY Graduate Center, New York and has previously taught in the Curating Contemporary Art department of the Royal College of Art, London, where she continues to be Visiting Professor, and at Warwick University(UK). Bishop is currently working on a history and theory of socially-engaged art. In 2008 she co-curated (with Mark Sladen) the exhibition Double Agent (ICA, London; Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre; and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead).


The lecture will take place in English, and is open to everyone, free of charge. Further information about the program can be found here.