521 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Hans Haacke. The show, on view from October 25 to December 13 at 521 West 21st Street, will include installation, sculpture, and photography from various periods of Haacke’s fifty-year career.
A recent work on view will be the maquette for Gift Horse, 2013, Haacke’s winning proposal for the Fourth Plinth on London’s Trafalgar Square. The bronze sculpture depicts the skeleton of a horse, derived from an engraving by George Stubbs, whose equine portraits reflected the equestrian culture of the British upper class. An electronic ticker tape—tied to the horse’s foreleg like a bow on a gift—displays live the London Stock Exchange ticker. Here, the artist makes an oblique reference to Adam Smith whose 1776 book The Wealth of Nations marked the birth of modern capitalism and introduced the commonly cited yet often misunderstood idea of “the invisible hand of the market” as the source of common welfare. According to the artist, “Some 250 years later, followers of Smith’s ‘mythical hand’ flock to the City of London, to Wall Street and other market places around the world, while the less fortunate look to the bare bones of the horseplay of today’s gentry.” The sculpture, measuring over 13 feet in height, will be unveiled in Trafalgar Square Spring 2015 and will be on view for eighteen months.
In Together, 2013, Haacke revisits his seminal 1969 installation, Circulation, examples of which are now in the collections of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Generali Foundation in Austria. In this work, water is pumped from two sources through an intricate network of transparent tubing. It is characteristic of his “systems,” which explore interaction and interdependence within physical, biological and social structures.
The Business Behind Art Knows the Art of the Koch Brothers relates to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s two new fountains, which occupy the museum plaza since September 2014. The title of the work quotes a leaflet published by the Metropolitan Museum stating, “The Business Behind Art Knows the Art of Good Business.” In Haacke’s photographic triptych, a facsimile of the leaflet is printed on a banner hanging between a pair of columns of the museum’s facade. Oversized $100 bills cascade from photos of the two fountains, emblazoned David H. Koch Plaza in gold. Koch, a billionaire industrialist, together with his brother Charles, is a major backer of an archconservative political agenda. Through their funding, the Koch brothers are expected to have a significant impact on the midterm elections in November.
The show will also include a selection of photographs by the artist.
Haacke has lived and worked in New York since 1965. He was born in Cologne, Germany in 1936 and attended the Staatliche Werkakademie in Kassel from 1956 to 1960. He was awarded a Fulbright Grant in 1961 to study at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. From 1967 to 2002 he taught at the Cooper Union in New York City. He has been given many one-person exhibitions at museums including the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, the Tate Gallery, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. His work was exhibited at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, four times at documenta (1972, 1982, 1987, 1997) in Kassel and at biennales in Gwangju, Sharjah, Johannesburg, São Paolo, Sydney and Tokyo. Haacke was awarded the Golden Lion with Nam June Paik for their German Pavilion at the 1993 Venice Biennale. In 2000, Haacke’s permanent installation DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To The Population) was inaugurated at the Reichstag, the German Parliament building in Berlin, and in 2006, he completed another public commission in Berlin, this one on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, commemorating the famous philosopher and activist for whom the square was named.