New Museum Presents a Major Retrospective of Hans Haacke
The New Museum presents the first major US survey of Hans Haacke in over thirty years, on view throughout the Museum’s main galleries from October 24, 2019, to January 26, 2020. Hans Haacke: All Connected brings together more than thirty works from across the artist’s career, from the 1960s to the present. This exhibition is the first American museum survey of work by the highly influential artist since the New Museum presented the exhibition Hans Haacke: Unfinished Business in 1986.
For six decades, Haacke has been a pioneer in kinetic art, environmental art, Conceptual art, and institutional critique. This retrospective brings together a wide range of works, focusing in particular on how Haacke expanded the parameters of his practice to encompass the social, political, and economic structures in which art is produced, circulated, and displayed.
The exhibition includes a number of Haacke’s rarely seen kinetic works, environmental sculptures, and visitor polls from the late 1960s and early ’70s, all of which were central to discussions around systems aesthetics in art during that period. It also features works from the 1970s and ’80s that address the corporate sponsorship of major art institutions and political interference, and more recent works that consider the intersection of global capitalism, nationalism, and humanitarian crises around the world.
Among the works on view in the Museum’s Second Floor galleries, Sphere in Oblique Air Jet (1964/2011) and the dynamic Wide White Flow (1967/2008), a billowing field of white silk animated by rotating fans, link Haacke’s early experiments in physical phenomena to his later investigations of social and economic systems.
Also on view are Gallery-Goers’ Birthplace and Residence Profile, Part 1 and Gallery-Goers’ Residence Profile, Part 2 (1969 and 1970), which surveyed and mapped New York’s gallery-going public of the late 1960s; the noted earthwork Grass Grows (1967–69); and High Voltage Discharge Traveling (1968), a twenty-two-foot-long glass pipe carrying an electric current.
The Museum’s Third Floor galleries feature works such as Oil Painting: Homage to Marcel Broodthaers (Oelgemaelde, Hommage à Marcel Broodthaers) (1982), for which Haacke installed a gilt-framed portrait of Ronald Reagan across from a photomural of antinuclear activists, with a red carpet and velvet stanchion between them—auguring the increasing links between art, politics, image, and spectacle.
On Social Grease (1975), a series of six photo-engraved plaques, gathers quotations from prominent American political and business leaders on the motivations behind corporate involvement in the arts. Haacke would further investigate the ethically complicated relationships between art and business in works like A Breed Apart (1978) and MetroMobiltan (1985), both of which address the role of multinational corporations in supporting art and repressive regimes such as South Africa’s apartheid government.
These are joined by Seurat’s “Les Poseuses” (small version), 1888–1975 (1975), a full-size color reproduction of Georges Seurat’s Les Poseuses [The Models] (1888) accompanied by fourteen text panels that lay out the painting’s provenance, presenting biographical information on each of its successive owners—including their economic circumstances and political affiliations—as well as acquisition data, with sales and purchasing prices when available.
The exhibition also serves as the New York premiere of Haacke’s sculpture Gift Horse (2014), a bronze sculpture of a horse’s skeleton adorned with an LED ribbon streaming stock prices in real time, which the artist originally created for London’s Fourth Plinth Program. On view on the Museum’s Fourth Floor, Gift Horse is accompanied by Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971), a canonical piece of Conceptual art that was at the center of the Guggenheim’s cancelled Haacke retrospective in 1971.
The Fifth Floor of the Museum includes a new edition of one of Haacke’s signature visitor polls, as well as documentation and materials from some of his celebrated earlier visitor surveys: MoMA Poll (1970), created for the Museum of Modern Art’s famed Information exhibition, and Documenta-Besucherprofil [Documenta Visitors’ Profile] (1972), a survey produced for the fifth edition of documenta, one of the art world’s most important international exhibitions.
This exhibition is curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue copublished by the New Museum and Phaidon Press, including contributions from Larry Abramson, Tania Bruguera, Daniel Buren, Jeremy Deller, Sam Durant, Maria Eichhorn, Olafur Eliasson, Andrea Fraser, Renée Green, Sharon Hayes, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Pamela M. Lee, Park McArthur, Walid Raad, Gloria Sutton, and John A. Tyson, along with Hans Haacke in conversation with Gary Carrion-Murayari and Massimiliano Gioni.