This course addresses issues of installation, participation and spectatorship through a selection of episodes and case studies from the history of modern and contemporary art. It introduces and explores ways by which works of art activate viewers’ immediate physical, sensory or psychical engagement, turning spectatorship into an embodied activity and collapsing the conventional conception of art as simply contemplative. From the post-war artistic experiment with ‘happenings’ to the surge of participatory practices in the globalizing contemporary art world, we will investigate key debates and theoretical discourses about artistic participation, collaboration and action, reconsidering the relationship between the artist, the artwork and the viewing subject. Artists we will look at may include but are not limited to: Allan Kaprow, Robert Morris, Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, Sophie Calle, Santiago Sierra, Félix González-Torres, Cildo Meireles, Thomas Hirschhorn, Francis Alys, Gabriel Orozco and Ai Weiwei.
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