Perhaps this is a good time to contrast political work such as Haacke's and the “protestainment” of Durant, Bowers, Hirshhorn, etc. Haacke's early work spoke directly to and strengthened a community in New York, showed the potential for actual political information to be disseminated in an art setting, although at the time the gallery/museum was seen potentially as an open nexus for communication.
The protestainment variety of work appropriates the idea of the political for aesthetic punch and a slightly awkward gray area of sincerity meant to give street cred while satisfying the economical side of the art worlds mechanisms. What does it mean to make advertising out of potentially important information? Doesn't this contradict the possibility of an actual political statement/intention?
I forgot to mention the other artists I think are of the first variety, I.e. potentially actually political: Martha Rosler, Frances Stark (although less overtly so), and Seth Price (his engagment with information exchange etc.)
was there any mention of Thomas Messer, i think “politics” and “instiutional crit” are often flipped.
How oddly contradictory it seems, when we place a burden of authenticity and agency on political artists such as Hans Haacke, when we do not place these burdens on those working in the realm of the fantastical or the midly historical. Our cultural inability to enact political change and to rouse people into social investment seems scapegoated when thrown at their feet. The problems that an artist like Haacke faces when attempting to form political critique and personal/political expression are just as much our problems as they are his....
personal is the political