Often linked to institutional critique, the work of Hans Haacke dismantles the idea of the autonomy of museums and art institutions, by showing the complex and ambiguous networks of relationships involving capital and power that support not only museums but also cultural institutions.
As the artist himself wrote, in an exchange with the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, art institutions, kind of like schools, are formative places. They influence the way we see ourselves and how social relationships are considered. (…) Our values are subtly negotiated with them. It is, if you will, a battlefield where the different conceptions of the social sphere fight it out. The world of art, unlike what most people think, is not a world apart.
In this talk, Haacke and the art critic and historian Walter Grasskamp look at several decades of this dialectic of tension between the artist and the museums. The dialogue consists of a diachronic examination of the artist's fifty years of production, by looking at ten works commented in relation to their different institutional models and contexts.
Walter Grasskamp is a critic, art historian and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of Munich. He has contributed to many books and catalogues dedicated to Hans Haacke, such as Hans Haacke. “Obra social” (Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1995), Hans Haacke (Phaidon Press, 2004) and Hans Haacke: For Real (Richter Verlag, 2007).
Hans Haacke is an artist and professor emeritus at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. His work began in the 1960s but it retains all of its relevance today, a time in which the model of the museum and its public governance are the subject of debate.