Hans Haacke

January 11 - February 17, 2008
534 W 21st Street

NEW YORK – The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Hans Haacke, which will open on January 11, 2008, at 534 West 21st Street.  The exhibition will run through February 16.  This is the artist’s second one-person exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery.

Hans Haacke will present works from various periods of his career. First and foremost, the exhibition will include what might count as Haacke’s earliest piece: Photographic Notes, documenta 2, 1959 (1959), a series of 26 black and white photographs taken at Documenta II, where the artist worked as an assistant while on break from his studies at the Art Academy in Kassel.  The photographs record one of the first confrontations of the German public after the Nazi period with modern and contemporary art, including works by artists such as Mondrian, Pollock and Kandinsky.  This series of photographs, first shown in the exhibition “Stations of Modernism” at the Berlinische Galerie (1988), has been described as a key early work evincing Haacke’s nascent interest in the sociology of art and his awareness of the dependency of art on its context, which informs so much of his later work.

Also on view will be Wide White Flow (1967), a large section of white fabric measuring 32 ½ x 38 feet, which is activated by air blown by electric fans.  The piece belongs to a series of works in which Haacke explored natural processes such as wind, electricity and condensation.  Haacke’s interest in the transformations exerted on matter as part of a “system” links these works with the later, overtly political or sociological pieces.  As the artist has said, “From the beginning the concept of change has been the ideological basis of my work.  All the way down there’s absolutely nothing static... nothing that does not change, or instigate real change.” (“An Interview with Jeanne Siegel,” Arts Magazine 45, no. 7, May 1971): 18-21).  First shown at MIT’s Hayden Gallery in 1967, Wide White Flow was recently re-created as part of Haacke’s 2006 two-venue retrospective at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

The exhibition will also include Sol Goldman and Alex DiLorenzo Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971), one of three pieces that prompted the cancellation of Haacke’s one-person exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the firing of its curator Edward F. Fry, when the artist refused to withdraw them.  The work consists of a map of Manhattan marking the locations of properties held in 1971 by the largest non-institutional real-estate group in Manhattan, photographs of the buildings and a list of the corporations operating them.

Finally, the exhibition will present two pieces with references to White House occupants: Trickle Up (1992), a battered couch with a pillow adorned with an embroidered quote by George H. W. Bush, and Mission Accomplished (2005), a torn print of white stars on a blue field.

There will be more occasions to view Haacke’s work in New York this winter.  Opening on December 16, the Queens Museum of Art will present “New York States of Mind,” including work created by Haacke after 9/11 and presented at the Paula Cooper Gallery in “State of the Union,” the artist’s previous show.  Additionally, the Whitney Museum of American Art will be exhibiting Haacke’s celebrated Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real-Estate Holdings (1971) – another piece from the cancelled Guggenheim show investigating a real-estate group with the largest holdings in Manhattan’s slum areas in 1971 – as part of its recent acquisitions (“Two Years,” on view December 19, 2007).

Hans Haacke was born in Cologne in 1936 and has lived in New York since the early 1960s.  Among the institutions that have held one-person exhibitions of Haacke’s work are The Tate Gallery, London; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.  His work was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and in four Documentas, most recently in 1997.  Haacke shared a Golden Lion with Nam June Paik for the best pavilion of the 1993 Venice Biennial.  "Free Exchange, "a conversation by the artist with Pierre Bourdieu, was published in 1994 (Stanford University Press, 1995). Translations have since appeared in eight languages.  In 2000, a permanent installation was inaugurated in the Reichstag, the German Parliament building in Berlin, and in 2006 a public commission commemorating Rosa Luxemburg was completed in a three-block area in the center of the city.  Finally, “for real,” a two-venue exhibition and Haacke’s first retrospective in Germany, was recently presented at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (November 2006 – February 2007).

Artist Pages: Hans Haacke