Hans Haacke

Hans Haacke is a German-American concept artist. His work displays “interconnectivity of culture, poilitics, corruption, greed”, and environmental issues. He works in a wide range and different variety of media. Born on the twelfth of August, in 1936. He was born in Cologne, Germany and attended the Staalitche Werkakademie (State Art Academy) in Kassel. Haacke focused more on painting while at the Academy. His early work involved more natural processes. His biggest hit happened in 1971 for his solo show at the Guggenheim. Which essentially did not happen because the museum’s director at the time, Thomas Messer, cancelled it. Messer’s reason being that “Guggenheim policies,’exclude active engagement towards social and political ends’.” There were many on-site protests afterwards. Controversy is one most reoccurring motifs in Haacke’s career of art. The piece that caused this uproar was theShapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real-Time Social System as of May 1, 1971. Though countless pieces of Haacke’s art revolves mainly around controversy and politics, he still mixes in some environmental art as well.

Hans Haacke has many ecological aspects to the masterpieces that he creates. He is most known for his sculptors and installations. In 1969, when other artists were building monuments to ideas about minimal art, the conceptual West-German born artist, Hans Haacke, focused his attention on the interdependency of biological systems and nature.” An example of this ecological movement is his work called Grass Grows. Haacke planted green sod on dirt in the exhibition space given to him. This installation focused on the “biological processes of change, renewal, and decay.” He is widens the mind and your perspective of economic systems, ecology, industry, politics, and daily life experiences.

I enjoy looking at Hans Haacke’s artwork because it reminds me that our world is not perfect and not everything is about what only happens around us. It is a little reminder to make a difference. A reminder to broaden your horizons and start helping to make changes to make out world a better place. Take charge of our actions and fix them. Haacke’s art is both inspirational and informative. He dared to step outside the box and make people think.

 His intentions:

Works largely with sociopolitical concerns.

  • Interaction between natural and human systems.
  • To convey the simplest observations of the world around us.
  • The obligation to see was passed on to the spectator.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – grasping constant change and effect.
  • Natural events – wind, rain, gravity.

…make something which experiences, reacts to its environment, changes, is non-stable…

…make something indeterminate, that always looks different, the shape of which cannot be predicted precisely…

…make something that cannot “perform” without the assistance of its environment…

…make something sensitive to light and temperature changes, that is subject to air currents and depends, in its functioning, on the forces of gravity…

make something the spectator handles, an object to be played with and thus animated…

…make something that lives in time and makes the “spectator” experience time…

…articulate something natural…

Hans Haacke
Cologne, January 1965






Created By:

Jillian I


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