Disordered Attention: How We Look at Art and Performance Today (Hardcover)

Disordered Attention: How We Look at Art and Performance Today By Claire Bishop Cover Image

Disordered Attention: How We Look at Art and Performance Today (Hardcover)


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How technology and the politics of attention changed the way we look at art

The ways we encounter contemporary art and performance has changed. How are we expectedto engage with today's diverse practice? Is the old model of close-looking still the ideal, or has itgiven way to browsing, skimming, and sampling?

Across four provocative and insightful essays, art historian and critic Claire Bishop identifies trends in contemporary practice. Charting a critical path through the last three decades, Bishop pinpoints how spectatorship and visual literacy are evolving under the pressures of digital technology.

She explores how researched-based exhibitions have proliferated turning the artist into an investigator or archivist with mixed results. Spatial performance can now involve the artist, dancers, or even the audience as participants, often framed with Instagram in mind. The political event is not longer activated without an understanding of the media that will record and distribute it. The proliferation of works that use modernist architecture is noticeable; but has this become a shorthand for something else?

Disordered Attention is a vital survey of 21st century art, from one of the leading art thinkers ofour times.
Claire Bishop is a Professor in the PhD Program in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her books include Installation Art: A Critical History and the award winning, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship.
Product Details ISBN: 9781804292884
ISBN-10: 1804292885
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
"Today, the most contemporary art form could be called cancelism. Cancelism as an art historical genre reflects the global shift to populism, disinformation and polarization. Cancelism is anonymous, crowd based, ubiquitous, it privileges affect over analysis, it goes beyond traditional understandings of left and right. In her lucid analysis, Claire Bishop traces some of the historical developments that led to this situation: the futurist glorification of disruption, countercultural interventions based on the model of coup d´états, artivist decisionism - different threads through which disruption and transgression were consolidated as key modes of production from Silicon Valley to Pussy Riot. For anyone who wants to understand how art functions in the age of populism, Bishops book is an indispensable guide."
—Hito Steyerl, author of Duty Free Art

"In Disordered Attention, Claire Bishop continues her careful and astute examination of the centrality of performance in contemporary art initiated in the now classic Artificial Hells. Guaranteed to become a fundamental reference, Disordered Attention offers its readers not only a survey of some of the most significant works in very recent performance and visual arts but it advances a whole new theory of spectatorship for the age of social media. Bishop shows us how our techno-mediated modes of experiencing art today transform the very social and material status of the artworks under review -- which endure a surprising metamorphosis thanks to Bishop's sharp analysis and clear prose."
—André Lepecki, Professor, Department of Performance Studies, New York University

"We know how to concentrate our attention on the artworks that remain unchanged in time. But what does it mean to be attentive to the time-based art - performances, research practices or interventions? They cannot be grasped at one glance and, thus, seem to escape our attention. In her brilliantly written book Claire Bishop analyses the problems with contemporary spectatorship. It is a book not only for the specialists but for everybody who wants to look at contemporary art but does not know how to do it.'"
—Boris Groys, author of The Philosophy of Care

"Bishop is that rare art historian who looks at contemporary art and performance, and whose perception of each is fully informed by the other. That she is able to weave brief histories of theater, dance, visual art, technology, and spectatorship into four highly readable essays, and the places and spaces where they intersect -with her first foray into current architecture - makes this book an important contribution to the new art history of the 21st century."
—RoseLee Goldberg Director and Chief Curator of Performa, author of Performance: Live Art for the 21st Century

"Claire Bishop is one of contemporary art's most skilled diagnosticians, and with Disordered Attention she zeroes in, and makes sense of, distraction. This book is destined to become a cultural touchstone."
—Julia Bryan-Wilson, professor of contemporary art at Columbia University

"A thought-provoking book on creation and viewership."
—Jessica White, i-D

"[A] deft examination of post-1990s contemporary art ... pushing back against the trend for anxious denunciations of growing inattention."
—J.J. Charlesworth, ArtReview