New York

Hans Haacke

Wise Gallery

Hans Haacke’s show at Howard Wise insists very earnestly that it is real. First we have Haacke’s word for it. “In all cases,” he writes about his work (which he thinks of as “physical, biological, and social systems”) “verifiable processes are referred to.” More important, the work itself is insistent about the issue, notably in its noises. Pumps hum, vacuum tubes click, and a UPI teletype chugs out stock information. The effect, when coupled with various prominent motors belligerently unsheathed, is of a kind of brutal chorus extolling the virtue, in art, of contemporary technological literalism.

Haacke is a new naturalist. The emphasis on systems is the current ideological vocabulary for an impulse at least as old as Zola and Dreiser and no less pedestrian. It claims the best art is life itself, raw, undigested, uncorrupted by “artificial” ideas. The new naturalism, like Zola’s, really

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