Hans Haacke shaped and influenced the concept of “political art” in Germany like no other artist of his generation. The Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt is staging a major survey exhibition dedicated to his extensive and remarkably multifaceted body of works spanning the past 50 years. Haacke, who is widely known for being an ardent defender of democracy, has always used his art to critically examine political systems and structures, as well as scrutinise institutions – including museums – and their activities. This critical attitude, uncovering politically volatile structures and making them visible, has occasionally resulted in his exclusion from major (and also international) exhibitions. After the fact, however, his positions have always been rehabilitated. Consequently, his oeuvre allows us to question and consider the political and social circumstances of the second half of the 20th century in retrospect – an exercise which the exhibition’s extensive educational programme will also highlight and explore in depth.
Many people today still have difficulty classifying Haacke’s work. The exhibition addresses this fact and provides an overview of his complex oeuvre. It begins with his early conceptual photo series of visitors to the documenta in 1959, which only garnered attention many years later. Today, the series underscores Haacke’s extraordinary talent for analytically examining multilayered social processes so early in his career. Visitors will also be able to see important works such as “Condensation Cube”, “Monument to Beach Pollution”, “Grass Grows” and “Blue Sail”, which were already addressing climate-related topics in the 1960s and 1970s. The project includes a comprehensive catalogue featuring articles by international experts. Essays by Haacke’s contemporaries will serve to document works beyond the scope of the exhibition. Collaboration with other major European art galleries and museums is planned.
Curator: Ingrid Pfeiffer
Artist: Hans Haacke
Exhibition: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main: 8 Nov. 2024 – 2 Feb. 2025
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main