Claire Bishop (b.1971) is an art historian and critic based in London. She is currently Assistant Professor in the History of Art department at Warwick University and is Visiting Professor in the Curating Contemporary Art department at the Royal College of Art, London. Recent publications include Installation Art: A Critical History (Tate, 2005) and Participation (Whitechapel and MIT, 2006). She is a regular contributor to Artforum, October and other magazines.
The premise of the research project is the recent claim that contemporary art has become 'spectacular' and increasingly indistinguishable from mass entertainment. To examine this, the module looks at the variety of ways in which the term 'spectacle' has been used throughout the twentieth-century, and shows that term has produced a great deal of theoretical literature on the intersection of politics and aesthetics. On the basis of this historical survey, students are encouraged to think critically about the ways in which present-day artistic productions are equally inseparable from political positioning.