Tag Archives: Rosalind Krauss

HANS HAACKE IN CONVERSATION

I have always been sympathetic to so-called minimal art. That does not keep me from criticizing its determined aloofness, which, of course, was also one of its greatest strengths. As to the implied incompatibility between a political statement/information and a work of art, I don’t think there are generally accepted criteria for what constitutes a work of art. At least since Duchamp and the constructivists, this has been a moving target…

Contrary to popular belief, eagles are really not courageous birds; they are even afraid of bicycles, as [Marcel] Broodthaers wrote. Their power is due to projection. The same is true for art—and political power. They need the red carpet, the gold frame, the aura of the office/museum—the paraphernalia of a seeming immortality and divine origin… It is important that the Thatcher painting is an oil painting. Acrylic paint doesn’t have an aura… Another reason for making a painting was that I had been stamped a conceptualist, a photomontagist, that sort of thing. This was a way to mess up the labels…

It is true that I often play on the modes of the contemporary art world, and I try to make something that is accessible to a larger public, which does not care for the histrionics of the art world. As Douglas [Crimp] pointed out, it helps that these pieces do not have the look of hermetic “avant-garde” art…

Where the Left is sometimes unnecessarily vulnerable is in its tendency to make mechanical attributions of ideology. In that respect, it mirrors the Right. We should recognize that things need to be evaluated within their respective historical contexts. Taken out of context, they are likely to be misread and can play the opposite role from that of their original settings… If I had been too concerned about co-optation, I would probably not have been able to do the things I’ve done. It can have a paralyzing effect. I saw this with some colleagues and students in the ’60s and ’70s. They either stopped working altogether or went through tremendous personal crisis, from which some eventually emerged as cynical entrepreneurs. In either case, it amounted to a capitulation to the powers that be. It takes stamina and shrewdness to survive in this mess… We just have to reconcile ourselves to the historical contingency of things. Otherwise, we fall into the idealist trap of believing in universal meanings and values. Hans Haacke*

On the occasion of the New Museum exhibition HANS HAACKE—ALL CONNECTED—the artist’s first major institutional show in the United States since Hans Haacke—Unfinished Business (1986–1987), also at the New Museum—join Haacke and co-curators Massimiliano Gioni and Gary Carrion-Murayari for a public conversation.

HANS HAACKE IN CONVERSATION with MASSIMILIANO GIONI and GARY CARRION-MURAYARI

Thursday, October 24, at 7 pm.

New Museum Theater

235 Bowery, New York City

*Yve-Alain Bois, Douglas Crimp, and Rosalind Krauss, “A Conversation with Hans Haacke,” October 30 (Autumn 1984): 22–48; reprinted in October: The First Decade, 1976–1986, edited by Annette Michelson, Krauss, Crimp, and Joan Copjec (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987), 175–200.

Hans Haacke, from top: Condensation Cube, 1963–65, clear acrylic, distilled water, and climate in area of display; Untitled, acrylic and liquid; Taking Stock (unfinished), 1983–84, oil on canvas and gilded frame; Mobil, On the Right Track, 1980, screen print and collage of photographs; Hans Haacke, Volume I, cover image courtesy and © Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, Tate Gallery, London, and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; On Social Grease, 1975, photo-engraved magnesium plates mounted on aluminum plaque (detail); MoMA Poll, 1970, two transparent ballot boxes with automatic counters and color-coded ballots, Information, Museum of Modern Art, New York, installation view; Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971, 1971, 142 black-and-white photographs, 142 typewritten cards, two excerpts from city map, and six charts (detail); Oil Painting: Homage to Marcel Broodthaers, 1982, oil on canvas, gilded frame, bronze plaque, stanchions, red velvet rope, picture lamp, red carpet, and photomural, Documenta 7, Kassel, installation view; child viewing Large Water Level, 1964–65, Miscellaneous Notions of Kinetic Sculpture, Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1967, installation view; Hans Haacke: All Connected, cover image courtesy and © the New Museum and Phaidon. Images courtesy and © the artist, Artists Rights Society, New York, and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

DOUGLAS CRIMP

Douglas Crimp—art historian, essayist, educator, author (Before Pictures), editor (October, throughout the 1980s), curator (Pictures)—died this morning in New York City.

“[In Before Pictures] I was interested in putting together two aspects of my life that were fairly difficult to negotiate in my first decade in New York—my art-world self and my gay-world self—at a time when both those worlds were highly experimental. I experienced innovation, experimentation, and transformation in the queer world and the art world simultaneously but mostly separately. I had to figure out how to make my two worlds, if not cohere, at least not be absolutely in conflict. My hope for Before Pictures is that it will provide a ‘queer history’ of both these worlds by putting them in conversation. I expect it might change how we think of 1970s gay culture, which we know mostly from the work of historians who write about the flourishing of gay politics. It might also change how we think about the art world of the ’70s.

“I had several different motivations for writing the book. One is that, in my ACT UP days, I made a whole bunch of younger friends, people mostly twenty years younger than me. I experienced the extraordinary explosion of gay culture during the 1970s, but they didn’t. I talked about it, they asked me about it, and on a couple occasions people said, you should really write about the gay ’70s in New York. That is not only because of their interest in what I was saying but because we were all horrified by the new narrative that was being put in place by gay conservatives. This narrative held that the ’70s represented our immaturity, an immaturity that led inevitably to AIDS, which in turn made us grow up and mature, become good citizens who wanted to get married and settle down and behave ourselves. I opposed that narrative in all of my AIDS writing.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Jarrett Earnest*

“It has always seemed to me, given what little I understand or have experienced of seeking sexual partners over the internet, that people not only advertise who they want to appear as, but also believe they truly know who they are and what they want. What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want, which might open you to partners of different races, to differently abled partners, and certainly to people with different sexual proclivities. I tried many things that frankly I was quite repelled by, but I was just being a good liberationist, thinking, ‘OK, I can’t say, No, I don’t do that, or That’s not who I am.’ I didn’t necessarily seek such things out a second time, but I often surprised myself. I guess that would be my question to you: How much do you surprise yourself?

“My experience of diversity and of racial discourses was all in my queer life, not in my art world life. The latter was a very white world, no question. There only began to be a consciousness about the paucity of women artists and numbers of black artists in the Whitney Biennials around that time. We’ve moved some from there. It was also the time when the Museo del Barrio was founded as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream art world. But I would have had to go pretty far afield from my own activities and experience to bring that stuff in. So it really came in terms of my other life, essentially. I experienced that as just one of the really big differences between the kind of people I knew in the art world and the kind of people I knew in the queer world…

“The interdisciplinary or hybrid quality of the memoir flows from that juxtaposition that started with the first chapter, in which I discuss what I call ‘my two first jobs,’ haute couture with Charles James and conceptual art with Daniel Buren at the Guggenheim; two seemingly incommensurate things, I use that sort of incommensurability throughout as a means through which to interrogate both sides. I do this in the chapter about [George] Balanchine and  [Jacques] Derrida, for example. The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history of both. I’m hoping that is what the book accomplishes. It’s a history of New York in the 70s, it’s a very personal history, but I think it is also a broader history.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Malik Gaines**

See Crimp on Trisha Brown.

See David Velasco on Crimp.

*”Douglas Crimp with Jarrett Earnest,” Brooklyn Rail, 2016; reprinted in Jarrett Earnest, What it Means to Write About Art (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2018), 102–118.

**”Conversations: Douglas Crimp and Malik Gaines,” Document 9 (Fall-Winter 2016): 130–133.

From top: Douglas Crimp in the 1970s; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp in his loft on Chambers Street, downtown Manhattan, circa 1975; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp (right) and Daniel S. Palmer in New York City, 2016, photograph by Katherine McMahon; book cover University of Chicago Press and Dancing Foxes Press; Pictures exhibition catalog, Artists Space, 1977. Images courtesy and © the author’s estate, the photographers, and the publishers.

ANNETTE MICHELSON — ON THE EVE OF THE FUTURE

Art, culture, and film theorist Annette Michelson died this week in Manhattan.

In 1976 she and Rosalind Krauss co-founded October. Michelson’s first collection of essays—On the Eve of the Future—was published last year, and a new volume on Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov is forthcoming.

Annette Michelson, On the Eve of the Future: Selected Writings on Film (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/October Books, 2017).

See Rachel Churner on Michelson.

Book and periodical image credit above: MIT Press/October Books.
Annette Michelson’s bookshelves, New York City, photograph by Babette Mangolte, 1976.
Below: Michelson, circa 1966. Photograph by Peter Hujar.
Image credit: The Getty Research Institute, 2014.M.26. Gift of Annette Michelson. The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC.