Carrie Lambert-Beatty is Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies. She is an editor of October magazine (managing editor from 9/1999-7/2001).
An art historian with a focus on art from the 1960s to the present, and a special interest in performance in an expanded sense, she is currently at work on a book for University of Chicago Press expanding on her 2009 October magazine essay “Make-Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility.” What happens, aesthetically and ethically, when artists deceive their audiences? Why has the presentation of fiction as fact—“parafiction”—become such a common way of working in contemporary art, and in culture more generally, since the early 1990s? In the past decade one of Lambert-Beatty’s chief research concerns has been the potential and limits of political art in contemporary practice, which she has explored through work on hybrids of art and activism such as Women on Waves and The Yes Men. Her 2008 book Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s (MIT Press) was awarded the 2008 de la Torre prize for dance studies. Lambert-Beatty studied American and Modern/Contemporary art at Stanford University, receiving her Ph.D. in 2002.
- Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s, MIT Press, 2008, 382 pp, IA. Introduction. Publisher. Treating aesthetic issues such as minimalism, dance, documentation, and the problem of politics in Rainer’s work, the book is also driven by the problem of how artists responded, often at unconscious levels, to the burgeoning media culture of the 1960s. Reviews: Bowman (Art Book), Rokem (TDR), Burton (CAA).
- Papers, book chapters
- "Moving Still: Mediating Yvonne Rainer's Trio A", October 89, MIT Press, Summer 1999, pp 87-112.
- "Other Solutions", Art Journal, Fall 2004, pp 48-61; repr. in Video Data Bank’s A Woman Who...: Selected Works of Yvonne Rainer, 2005.
- "Make Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility", October 129, MIT Press, 2009, pp 51-84.
- "Political People: Notes on Arte de Conducta", in Tania Bruguera: On the Political Imaginary, Milan: Charta, 2009, pp 36-45.
- "Recuperating Performance", in Friedman L Allora & Calzadilla: Gloria. U.S. Pavilion, 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale Di Venezia, Prestel, 2011.
- "The Academic Condition of Contemporary Art", in Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, eds. Alexander Dumbadze and Susan Hudson, New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.