Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hans Haacke, Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971)




















Hans Haacke's controversial piece Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971) produces an abstraction of the social relationships between the wealthy and the evicted.  Shapolsky, a wealthy New York land owner and landlord, happened to also be the owner of more slums than any other land owner in the city. The work thus illustrates the many ways in which the wealthy leech on the poor for the source of their money. The work was so controversial at the time that the Guggenheim Museum, where it was intended to debut, cancelled the show - the understated implication being that Shapolsky probably gave money to the Museum and did not want his name to be contaminated.  

32 comments:

  1. I saw this work recently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona recently and was totally blown away. when you compare this piece which fearlessly combines aesthetics with an acute social awareness it completely renders today's kiss-as excuses like the Brit-art bullshit to the ashcan of history.

    Go see it.

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    Replies
    1. I entirely agree. I was "formed" as an artist in London, between the 90's and early 200's, and felt always as if something did not match between the artistic climate and my social consciousness.
      I remember that almost no students made political art or during the gulf war, critique did not filter during the Yugoslavia war etc.
      For that to happen you did not need to be an intelectual or alike. In fact, the students loved to intelectualize about the work of this or that artist, philosopher etc... but almos none of them became engaged in using their work as a tool to produce real change, to demonstrate signs of disaproval... To do that you don't need to write many essays. You need to burst the privileged endogamic bubble of a rich school system to produce privileged art students aiming to be part of a scene that seduces a bunch of rich collectors suc as Saatchi and others.

      Delete
  2. Oh really, so it is really controversial. Where can I see the piece? Is it only one or it has a replica?

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