Theodor W. Adorno described artworks as “windowless monads”: closed, autonomous worlds that both contain society and turn away from it. This essential contradiction is at the core of any discussion of art that aspires to shake off the exhibition space and extend itself into the social sphere. In 2011, in conjunction with the unveiling of a new documentary artwork by Mischa Kuball, a conference was held in Germany on socially engaged art. New Relations in Art and Society is the result, gathering together a range of writers reflecting on the role of participation in art: the theoretical frameworks that have redefined the relationship between artwork and viewer; art projects that have employed participation effectively; the political and institutional challenges in promoting participatory art; and the transformation in curatorial practices that has resulted. Essayists include Claire Bishop, Beatrice Gibson, Thomas Hirschhorn, Sandra Höptner, Kristin Marek, Nina Möntmann, Eva Schmidt, Gerald Schröder, Beate Söntgen and Apolonia Sustersic.
Text by Claire Bishop, Thomas Hirschhorn, Franz Erhardt Walther, Lawrence Weiner, Jacques Ranciere, Astrod Wege.