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Censorship and Controversy in Contemporary Art
(Released June 2002)

  by Sara Harrison  


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  1. `Der Bevolkerung': Aufsatze und Dokumente zur Debatte um das Reichstagsprojekt von Hans Haacke [`Der Bevolkerung': essays and documentation on the debate about the Reichstag project by Hans Haacke]

    (Edited by) Diers, Michael; Konig, Kasper; Kaernbach, Andreas; Thierse, Wolfgang; Wagner, Monika; Meyer, Hans; Creischer, Alice; Siekmann, Andreas; Meister, Martina; Sussmuth, Rita

    Frankfurt am Main: Portikus; Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig. 2000, 264 pp. 32 illus. (5 colour) + plan, bibliog. ISBN: 3-88375-458-7

    Surveys the spectrum of critical argument conducted in the German press and parliament over the work Der Bevolkerung, conceived by the German artist Hans Haacke for installation in the Reichstag building in Berlin. There are seven essays. Andreas Kaernbach sets Haacke's proposal in the context of the whole artistic programme debated by members of the Reichstag. Wolfgang Thierse focuses on the political dimension to the controversy over Haacke's model. Monika Wagner comments on the symbolism of works of art consisting of earth and stone, with particular reference to Haacke's Der Bevolkerung. Hans Meyer charts attempts to dismiss Haacke's proposal on constitutional grounds. Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann consider Haacke's role in the post-War relationship between parliamentary democracy and art. Martina Meister highlights recent press debate about the representational character of Haacke's installation. Rita Sussmuth explains the aesthetic and political reasons for her support for the realization of Haacke's work. A photographic documentation of the exhibition Dem Deutschen Volke: der Bevolkerung at the Portikus in Frankfurt am Main (26 Aug.-8 Oct. 2000), together with Haacke's project notes, selected press articles, Reichstag proceedings, a fax interview with Haacke, and statements from the consultative arts committee for the Reichstag are also included.

  2. Re-readings in arts management

    Chong, Derrick

    Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society (U.S.A.), vol. 29, no. 4, Winter 2000, pp. 290-303, bibliog

    Discusses the adoption by art institutions of the principles and language of management since the 1960s, focusing on the debate since 1970 between the German artist Hans Haacke (b.1936) and proponents of the Harvard Business School approach. The author outlines traditional attitudes towards the administration of the arts, and explains how they have given way since the 1960s to a generic form of management suitable for every type of organization. He suggests that this development fulfils predictions made by Theodor Adorno (1903-69) concerning tensions between old and new approaches to the management of the culture industry - the old school valuing a passive administration role, and the new one an active management role which, in addition, privileges market forces over the qualities of the art it manages. He cites the debate between Haacke - who recognizes the importance of art institutions in shaping perceptions concerning the role of art - and proponents of the Harvard Business School model of management, who helped establish arts management as a subdiscipline. This model, he explains, focuses on the arts as an economic activity, and its emergence coincided with economic recession and reductions in funding for the arts. He summarizes Haacke's predictions concerning the advent of this model of arts management and the views of Pierre Bourdieu on the subject, and concludes by considering the extent to which they have been proved right.

  3. `You have to get used to it'

    Linn, Allison

    ARTnews (U.S.A.), vol. 99, no. 3, March 2000, pp. 76, (2 colour)

    Considers debate on the suitability of art works for display in government buildings in Berlin. The author details the financing of a federal art programme for the Reichstag parliament building and the 15 federal ministries. She examines the refusal of some politicians to approve art selected for the Reichstag, focusing on Hans Haacke's design for its courtyard entitled Der Bevolkerung (1999; illus.), notes that the work of Markus Lupertz, Bernhard Heisig, Rebecca Horn and Ilya Kabakov has also been controversial, and discusses Jochen Gerz's site-specific installation for the finance ministry, comprising the text `Money, love, death, freedom - what counts in the end?'. She quotes Klaus Bussman, a spokesman for the art-selection committee, who argues that artists must engage with Germany's past, and Rita Sussmann, a former president of parliament, who believes that artists should look to the future.

  4. Sanitation-Sensation: Skandal um Hans Haacke-Werk in New York [Sanitation Sensation: scandal surrounding work by Hans Haacke in New York]

    Thon, Ute

    Kunstforum International (Germany), no. 150, April-June 2000, pp. 448-9, (1 colour)

    Discusses the controversy surrounding the presentation of the room installation Sanitation by the German artist Hans Haacke in the Whitney Biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (23 March-4 June 2000). The author outlines the critical response to the work voiced in the press, and expressed in the withdrawal of funding by Marylou Whitney, daughter-in-law of the founder, which focused on the installation's pile of rubbish, and three accompanying statements by mayor Rudolph Giuliani censoring the earlier Sensation exhibition by young British artists at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and its supporters. He highlights the political and conceptual basis of Haacke's position, and his record as a controversial artist, and comments on the debate currently underway in the German parliament concerning Haacke's proposal for the installation Der Bevolkerung in the Reichstag building in Berlin. He concludes by describing the reaction of other sections of American society to controversial exhibitions of contemporary art.

  5. Etwas machen, das in der Zeit lebt, den Betrachter Zeit erleben lasst...': zum Streit des Projekts von Hans Haacke fur das Reichstagsgebaude [`To do something that lives in time, and lets the observer experience time...': on the argument over Hans Haacke's project for the Reichstag building]

    Herbstreuth, Peter

    Kunstforum International (Germany), no. 150, April-June 2000, pp. 446-8, (1 colour)

    Provides an overview of the career and work of the German artist Hans Haacke (b.1936), with particular reference to the controversy surrounding his proposed installation Der Bevolkerung for the Reichstag building in Berlin. The author highlights the continuing relevance to his most recent project of the artistic credo that Haacke formulated in 1965, and describes the materials, composition, and symbolic content of the project, and two earlier proposals for government buildings in Bonn and Paris that date to 1973 and 1989 respectively. He discusses the political reception and developing commentary on Haacke's Berlin project as regards its practical application and site-specificity, and he concludes by noting that, even if the proposal is rejected, Haacke has initiated the process of democratic debate on social, symbolic, and aesthetic action.

  6. Lee Smith on Hans Haacke: aye raising

    Smith, Lee

    Artforum (U.S.A.), vol. 38, no. 9, May 2000, pp. 43, (2 colour)

    Discusses the installations Der Bevolkerung (1999; illus.) and Sanitation (2000; illus.) by the German-born Conceptual artist Hans Haacke (b.1936). The author examines Der Bevolkerung, Haacke's contribution to the reopening of the Reichstag building in Berlin, which caused great political debate, and Sanitation, his contribution to the Whitney Biennale 2000, which examines censorship in art. He also considers Haacke's link between the two works as arising from a concern for constitutional issues, and explores his preoccupation with the change in German citizenship laws.

  7. Ein Sandkasten namens Deutschland [A sandpit called Germany]

    Muller, Silke (Interviewer)

    ART: das Kunstmagazin (Germany), no. 5, May 2000, pp. 86-8, (4 colour)

    In interview, the German artist Hans Haacke (b.1937) discusses the reception of his projected installation Der Bevolkerung (illus.) and other works of a polemical nature. He defends the artistic freedom and integrity of the installation planned for the Reichstag building in Berlin, and comments on the institution of a parliamentary vote over its acceptance. He sets the reaction of the New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to the Sensation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, New York in its political context, and explains why he included statements by Giuliani in his Sanitation installation (illus.). He also considers the ability of art to change aspects of society, with particular reference to the influence of his object Helmsboro Country (1990; illus.) in Germany and the U.S.A.

  8. Ganz oben: ein Faxinterview mit Hans Haacke von Astrid Wege [Right at the top: a fax interview with Hans Haacke by Astrid Wege]

    Wege, Astrid (Interviewer)

    Texte zur Kunst (Germany), vol. 10, no. 38, June 2000, pp. 38-49, 4 illus.

    In interview the German artist Hans Haacke discusses the controversy surrounding his design for an inscription in the inner courtyard of the new Reichstag building in Berlin: 260 members of the Bundestag supported Haacke's project, while 258 voted against it and 31 abstained. The author summarizes the opponents' argument, one aspect of which focused on the way the script used to spell out Der Bevolkerung recalled that used for the inscription Dem Deutschen Volke on the gable of the Reichstag building. Haacke examines the associations of the words Volk and Bevolkerung in the context of Germany's past and the multicultural reality of its present.

  9. Mein Projekt ist ein Denk-Werk' [`My project is a mental work']

    Babias, Marius

    Kunstforum International (Germany), no. 151, July-Sept. 2000, pp. 461-4, (1 colour)

    In interview, the German artist Hans Haacke discusses the controversy surrounding his proposed installation Der Bevolkerung for the Reichstag building in Berlin. He comments on the range of reaction from all political sides to his proposal, and the recent green light for its realization given by the German parliament, and compares his political and artistic reputation with that of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. He considers the historical, ideological, and semantic aspects of his installation, singles out for praise the epithetic `Denk-Werk' coined by a representative of the coalition Bundnis 90 and die Grunen, and speculates on the results when members of parliament are invited to contribute soil samples from their constituencies to the installation. He also offers his views on the reception of his work in the U.S.A., and the abillity of art to raise levels of political consciousness.

  10. Mixed messages: Hans Haacke interviewed by Patricia Bickers

    Bickers, Patricia (Interviewer)

    Art Monthly (U.K.), no. 244, March 2001, pp. 1-5, 4 illus.

    In interview the German artist Hans Haacke discusses issues relating to his work. The artist comments on the role of the active viewer and museums' approaches to exhibition display, in relation to the exhibition Modern Starts: People, Places, Things on show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (7 Oct. 1999-14 March 2000). He discusses his critique of institutions and the practice of sanitization, accepts the suggestion that he has perhaps mellowed, and explains that his focus is not on the power structures of institutions but on the institutions themselves and on art history. While acknowledging that fame has benefited him in some respects, he claims that some museums do not wish to be associated with him. He examines the shift in politically engaged art over the years and details his two simultaneous London exhibitions: Mixed Messages at the Serpentine Gallery and Give & Take at the Victoria and Albert Museum (30 Jan.-1 April 2001), noting his inspiration and artists whose work provides a precedent for this project, and notes a work he was unable to, but would ideally have included.