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The Art of the 1990s

Reproduced cover image of "Participation," edited by Claire Bishop and published by The MIT Press.
Reproduced cover image of Participation, edited by Claire Bishop and published by The MIT Press.

Catalysts and Critics: The Art of the 1990s
9:30am - 5:30am Friday 24 October 2008
Columbia University, School of the Arts - Broadway at 116th St,
Havemeyer Hall, Room 309
New York NY

Doing Art Politically: What Does This Mean?
A lecture by Thomas Hirschhorn
6:30pm Friday 24 October 2008
Cooper Union, The Great Hall - 7 East 7th Street, New York NY

In many ways, with his 1998 book Relational Aesthetics, and later Postproduction, Nicolas Bourriaud did precisely what he set out to do: that is, develop and popularize a certain critical vocabulary to talk about a breed of interdisciplinary event- and socially-oriented art practice that had experienced a particular refinement during the 1990s. The work of course did various other things beyond this ambition, the kind which any serious critical or art historical stake on such a legacy would provoke. A line in the sand was drawn, a very stark line, which inspired all kinds of aggressive positioning and re-positioning to its relation by various producers, of both art and texts. What a rare opportunity, then, for any observer of this highly visible and important group of Bourriaud's, his friends and detractors, and the dense cosmos of participatory art, for the Guggenheim to have organized Catalysts and Critics: The Art of the 1990s at Columbia University, taking place most of this Friday. A broad spectrum of opinions and allegiances will be present at the conference, with contributions by critics Alexander Alberro, Ina Blom, Nicolas Bourriaud and Claire Bishop; curator Nancy Spector; noted collector Andy Stillpass; gallerist Massimo de Carlo and scholar Jose Falconi. The event is organized on the occasion of the opening of anyspacewhatever, a major new exhibition at the Museum in which a core group of 10 artists -- Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jorge Pardo, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija -- have been invited "to collectively formulate a scenario for an exhibition, one that will reflect and articulate the unique nature of their practices."

Curiously enough, also tomorrow, Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn will be presenting a lecture at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union entitled Doing Art Politically: What Does This Mean? at 6:30, the second in Cooper's Art and Politics as Usual event series.