Hans Haacke’s art articulates the interdependence of multiple elements. An artwork is not merely an object but is also its context—the economic, social, and political conditions of the art world and the world at large. Among his best-known works are MoMA-Poll (1970), which polled museumgoers on their opinions about Nelson Rockefeller and the Nixon administration’s Indochina policy; Gallery-Goers’ Birthplace and Residence Profile (1969), which canvassed visitors to the Howard Wise Gallery in Manhattan; and the famously canceled 1971 solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, which was meant to display, among other things, works on two New York real estate empires.
This volume collects writings by Haacke that explain and document his practice. The texts, some of which have never before been published, run from straightforward descriptions to wide-ranging reflections and full-throated polemics. They include correspondence with MoMA and the Guggenheim and a letter refusing to represent the United States at the 1969 São Paulo Biennial; the title piece, “Working Conditions,” which discusses corporate influence on the art world; Haacke’s thinking about “real-time social systems”; and texts written for museum catalogs on various artworks, including GERMANIA, in the German Pavilion of the 1993 Venice Biennial; DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population) of 2000 at the Berlin Reichstag; Mixed Messages, an exhibition of objects from the Victoria and Albert Museum (2001); and Gift Horse, unveiled on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2015.
About the Author
Hans Haacke is a German-born artist who lives and works in New York. From 1967 to 2002, he taught at The Cooper Union.
About the Editor
Alexander Alberro is Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Art History at Barnard College. He is the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity and the coeditor of Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology, both published by The MIT Press.
—Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern Art, Harvard University; author of Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry and Formalism and Historicity
—Manuel Borja-Villel, Director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
—Caroline A. Jones, Professor and Director, History Theory Criticism Section, MIT Architecture Department; curator and author of Hans Haacke 1967
—Luke Skrebowski, Lecturer in Contemporary Art, Department of History of Art, University of Manchester
—Andrea Fraser, performance artist; Professor of New Genres in the Department of Art, University of California, Los Angeles; author of Museum Highlights