Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971

© 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

This is the other early Haacke work that I was thinking of. It's similar to Moma Poll in its critique of specific powerful individuals, this time the Shapolsky family whose Manhattan real estate empire is characterized by Haacke as being largely composed of slums. The specificity of this critique is what led the Guggenheim to cancel the exhibition just six weeks prior to its scheduled opening, and to dismiss the curator, Edward Fry, who continued to support the piece.

The work was conceived as an unremittingly didactic work, with the ramp of the Guggenheim punctuated by 142 sets of photos and datasheets representing each of the buildings, with accompanying maps and charts demonstrating their place in Manhattan's geographic and financial context.

A good but brief recent article on Haacke by Manfred Hermes in Frieze.

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