About Claire Bishop

New York, NY

Claire Bishop (CBA ’18) 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 (2005) and Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (2012), for which she won the 2013 Frank Jewett Mather award, and Radical Museology, or, What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art? (2013). She is a regular contributor to Artforum, and her essays and books have been translated into eighteen languages. Her current research concerns the impact of digital technology on contemporary art and performance since 1989, and is funded by an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

Cunningham’s Events

At The Center for Ballet and the Arts, Bishop researched Merce Cunningham’s Museum Events. The recent proliferation of contemporary dance in art museums has led to polarizing debates about the intersection of visual art and dance. Missing from these debates is an understanding of historical precedents, among which Museum Events, produced between 1964 and 2012, are crucial forerunners. These ninety-minute remixes of work in the company’s repertoire were performed in non-traditional venues and broke the frontal orientation of dance. Bishop’s research sought to provide a historical critique of how the Events developed, and their relevance to contemporary dance in the museum.


Claire Bishop. Photo by Douglas Coupland.

Douglas Coupland

Claire Bishop. Photo by Douglas Coupland.