PRINT May 2019


Screen capture from A Centre for Everything’s interactive Maps of Gratitude, Cones of Silence and Lumps of Coal, 2019.

IN 1971, Hans Haacke set out to expose two decades of unscrupulous activities by one of New York City’s biggest slumlords. Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 employed methodologies and styles familiar to Conceptual art to illuminate, and thus put pressure on, the deceptions that undergird modern economic power. Haacke made it for his solo show that year at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which was canceled six weeks before the opening.

The contest between artists and institutions over mechanisms of support was hardly new when Haacke made his piece. But he moved the needle on art’s role in challenging the conditions of its presentation and possibility. Since then, advances in the distribution of information have made financial connections easier to uncover and share, encouraging more artists to mobilize their skills

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