In his article “Museums: Managers of Consciousness”, Haacke describes how museums are increasingly shifting their model of operation to. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions. If you want to put it in negati ” – Hans Haacke quotes from Haacke H.’Museums, managers of consciousness’ B. Wallis (Ed.), Hans Haacke: unfinished business, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and MIT.

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Haacke says art by nature is not an actual commodity, its meaning changes due to the amount of exposure it receives. At least in passing, I should mention that numerous other industries depend on the economic vitality of the art branch of the consciousness industry.

It follows that political considerations play a role in the appointment of museum directors. Managers of Consciousness, Hans Haacke, Why are biotech companies suddenly sponsoring art about genes? It could open doors, facilitate passage of favorable legislation, and serve as a shield against scrutiny and criticism of corporate conduct.

As a matter of fact, I have serious reservations about their training, the mentality it fosters, and the consequences it will have. It was never easy for museums to preserve or regain a degree of maneuverability and intellectual integrity. Under Clement Greenberg’s tutelage, everything that made worldly references was simply excommunicated from art so as to shield the Grail of taste from contamination.

Supplanting the traditional bohemian image of the art world with that of a business operation could also negatively affect the marketability of its products and interfere with fundraising efforts. The channeling of consciousness is pervasive not only under dictatorships, but also in liberal societies.

Managers of Consciousness By Hans Haacke. Consequently, the present director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York has a management background, and the boards of trustees of other U. Conversely, the taxpayers so affect do not shy away from deducting relevant business expenses.

Ambitious exhibition programs that could not be financed through traditional sources led museums to turn to corporations for support. Instead of enrolling in arts administration courses taught according to the Harvard Business School’s case method, they museumx learned their skills on the job.

Given current financial problems, they try to streamline their operation. Although the product under discussion appears to be quite slippery, it is by no means inconsequential, as cultural functionaries from Moscow to Washington make clear every day. Even though they may not agree with the system of beliefs dominant at the time, their options not to subscribe to them and instead to promote an alternative consciousness are limited. Those who in fact plan and execute industrial strategies tend, whether by inclination or need, to mystify art and conceal its industrial aspects and often fall for their own propaganda.

Within the art world, museums and other institutions that stage exhibitions play an important role in the inculcation of opinions and attitudes. Another German example of the way in which direct industrial benefits flow from investment in art may be seen in the activities of the collector Cconsciousness Ludwig. As long as an consciousnses is not squeamish about company involvement in press releases, posters, advertisements, and its exhibition catalogue, its grant proposal for such an extravaganza is likely to be examined with sympathy.


It was hoped that the event would revitalize the economically depressed region close to the German border and that it would prop up the local tourist industry.

Hans Haacke – Monoskop

Arts administrators do not exaggerate when they defend their claims for public support by pointing to the number of jobs that are affected not only in their own institutions, but also in communications and, particularly, in the hotel and restaurant industries. It is perhaps not surprising that many museums indignantly reject the notion that they provide a biased view of the works in their custody.

Indeed, they usually present haqcke as educational organizations and consider education as one of their primary responsibilities. That there is a lot of money riding throughout the art world and most of it runs counter productive to the entire meaning of art and what art is suppose to represent, but not recognized.

With one stroke that term cuts through the romantic clouds that envelop the often misleading and mythical notions widely held about the production, distribution, and consumption of art.

Again museums felt they had no choice but to turn to consciousneess for a bail-out. And it is, of course, this misunderstanding of the role that products of the consciousness industry play which constitutes the indispensable base for all corporate strategies of persuasion. Such interpretive work is in turn a product of consciousness, performed gratis by each viewer but potentially salable if undertaken by curators, historians, critics, appraisers, teachers, etc.

The New York Times calls it weekend section “Arts and Leisure” and covers under this heading theater, dance, film, art, haackee, gardening, and other ostensibly harmless activities. Those engaged in collaboration with the public relations officers of companies rarely see themselves as promoters of acquiescence.

He believes this to be the way to take down corporate conglomerates using art for personal gain. And such an institution should be challenged if it refuses to acknowledge that it operates under constraints deriving from its sources of funding and from the authority to which it reports.

Conversations of Theory

Being trained primarily as technocrats, they are less likely to have an emotional attachment to the peculiar nature of the product they are promoting.

Certainly, shows that could promote critical awareness, present products of consciousness dialectically and in relation to the social world, or question relations of power have a slim chance of being approved-not only because they are unlikely to attract corporate funding, but also because they could sour relations with potential sponsors for other shows. The presence of the names and logos of corporate sponsors invaded the physical space of the museum as well, appearing on the wall plaques at the entrance to the gallery.


It has established branches-almost literally a merger-on the premises of two companies.

Hans Haacke

While the rule of the boards of trustees of museums in the United States is generally uncontested, the supervisory bodies of public institutions elsewhere have to contend much more with public opinion and the prevailing political climate. In New York and possibly elsewhere, real-estate speculators follow with great interest the move of artists into low-rent commercial and residential areas. It is well-documented that Documenta is held in an out-of-the-way place like Kassel and given economic support by the city, state, and federal government because it was assumed that Kassel muuseums be put on the map by an international art exhibition.

Obviously they are mistaken in their assumption that products of consciousness can be created in isolation. The staging of an international exhibition such as a Biennale or a Documenta presents a major managerial challenge with repercussions not only for what is being managed, but also for the future career of the executive in charge. I think they do so for good reason.

As the need to spend enormous sums for public relations and government propaganda indicates, things are not frozen. The success of their enterprises and the future of the artists consciouzness their stables obviously depend a great deal on their managerial skills. They also happen to be more interested in culture than other groups on the political spectrum.

Some public museums in Europe went the road of mixed support, too, although in the opposite direction.

The larger, more lavishly appointed these shows and their catalogues became, however, the more glamour the audiences began to expect. The tax authorities, however, have no compunction in assessing the income derived from the “spiritual” activities.

And this attitude, in turn, will have an effect on the type of products we will soon begin to see. Of course, all these and other skills have been employed for decades by art-world denizens of the old school. The Metropolitan Museum in New York is one case where this split has already occurred.

The artistic staff is not exempt from the strain of the bottom-line; as curators decide which works of art to include in an exhibition, they must keep in mind what artists and artworks will attract the largest crowds and which ones might offend or deter board members, donors, and corporate sponsors.

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