May 4, 2005 - Vera List Center for Art and Politics - VIEWING ACTS
May 4, 2005


'Viewing Acts:' A Panel and Discussion on Contemporary Art and Audience Relations
featuring Claire Bishop, Coco Fusco, Alan Gilbert, Grant Kester, and Walid Raad
Thursday, May 5, 2005, 6:30 PM

The New School
Wollman Hall
66 West 12th Street
New York City

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 Center 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 eminent 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.

* * *

Established in 1992 by a grant from the late Vera List, a Life Trustee of New School University, The Vera List Center explores the role of the arts in developing a culture of pluralism in the United States. In public lectures and symposia, through research activities and publications, and in programs associated with the university’s art collection, a wide array of visual and performance artists, scholars, curators, and political leaders come together to investigate the intersection of art and politics.

During the year 2004-05, the Center’s programming includes an interdisciplinary exploration of the theme of “homeland.” For a current listing of programs, please visit

Vera List Center for Art and Politics
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