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Hans Haacke

Recent Works
February 04 – March 10, 1979

Hans Haacke
Installation View,
The Renaissance Society, 1979
For Haacke, a visual image is primarily a communicative image: it can and should be used to convey opinions on specific topics. His works deal primarily with social and economic issues, and how those issues function within the art world.

"The formal presentation of Haacke's newer conceptual works reveal an interesting paradox. As 'art' they can be interpreted as mock documentations. Yet in most instances they are valid documentations of existing socio-economic conditions. The use of photographs add to their dry, explicit authenticity. Haacke feels that painterly easel art can no longer convey the subtleties and complexities of the international business world. His poetry is seen to reside in things as they actually are, give or take a bit of rearrangement. But it is this stark, almost prosaic, quality which leads some observers to interpret Haacke's work as conceptualism's classic impulse.
The reasons behind this literalism have much to do with the lack of efficacy of protest art, or art utilizing political statements. .... Regarding political art, Haacke feels that he sympathizes [...with their feelings but I'm not sure that the rhetorical way some of them go about it is at the level at which their targets are operating. If you make protest paintings you are likley to stay below the sophistication of the apparatus that you are attacking.]"
Jack Burnham
from the catalogue essay



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