State of the Union
534 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present State of the Union, an exhibition of new work by Hans Haacke. It will be on view from November 5th through December 23rd, 2005, at 534 West 21st Street.
The exhibition will present works reflecting on the aftermath of Sept. 11: this country’s wounds, the U.S. government’s actions, and a conflicted and divided nation.
For more than thirty-five years, Haacke has been looking at the relationship between art, power and money, and has addressed issues of free expression and civic responsibilities in a democratic society. Haacke was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1936 and has lived in New York since the early 1960s. His early work dealt with physical and organic processes, such as condensation, the movements of water and air, and the growth and behavior of plants and animals. In 1969, he conducted his first gallery visitors’ poll. Increasingly he focused on the socio-political context in which art is exhibited and traded. A one-person exhibition, scheduled at the Guggenheim Museum in 1971, was cancelled by the museum because of a visitors’ poll and two works analyzing New York real estate empires. One of these real estate works - now in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris - was part of the Tate Modern’s Open Systems exhibition this year.
When asked why he chose to be an artist instead of a politician, Haacke replied: “Experience tells us that one should never leave politics to the politicians. Aside from the trouble this can get us into, such abdication would also be in conflict with generally held notions of democracy. But it would also be dangerous for art. Shutting out the social world would reduce it to a self-consuming ‘art for art’s sake.”
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. A permanent installation was inaugurated in 2000 in the Reichstag, the German Parliament building in Berlin. 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.