June 1, 2013

'Collaboration Linda & Hans Haacke'


For his contribution to a 1969 group show at the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland, New York-based conceptual and systems artist Hans Haacke submitted his son.

The show, curated by Harald Szeemann, was titled, "When Attitude Becomes Form," caused outrage and demonstrations at the time, and has been hugely influential ever since. Szeemann had assembled a far-flung group of works by artists who were or would soon be recognized as leaders in Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, post-minimalism, systems art, and earthwork. But the show also pretty much defined the idea-driven, highly collaborative curatorial model that's still evident in biennials around the world.

That includes the Venice Biennale, which just opened this week, which is where the Prada Foundation is hosting a crazytown-sounding restaging of Szeemann's exhibit that brings almost all the original works back together and installs them in an exact replica of the Bern building--inserted into an 18th century Venetian palazzo. [By Rem Koolhaas and the artist Thomas Demand. The show is (re-)curated by Germano Celant.]

Which is all just context for wondering how the contribution to an historic show by a major figure like Haacke, can be almost completely invisible online.

Haacke did not actually send his newborn son from New York, where he'd just been born, to Bern. But he was one of the 14 or so artists whose contribution to Szeemann's show existed only in the catalogue. And he submitted documentation of his son--his birth certificate from NYU Hospital, inky footprints and all--with "COLLABORATION LINDA & HANS HAACKE" stamped in blue ink across it. The kid's name, by the way, Carl Samuel Selavy Haacke, includes a shoutout to Marcel Duchamp's notorious cross-dressing alter ego Rrose Selavy. [Duchamp had died in 1966.]

The catalogue lists the title as Informationsurkunde meines Sohnes, 1-22-69 (ID certificate of my son). The artist later gave the piece to his dealer, Paul Maenz, whose first show, in 1971, in his Cologne art gallery was of Haacke. [Maenz donated the piece along with his archive, to the Print Room in Berlin in 2004.]

From what I can tell, Carl Haacke, who is know all grown up and a dad himself, is not participating in the restaging of the "When Attitude Becomes Form," but I will look into it.

Context for the show(s): Bad Attitudes: Harald Szeemann's landmark exhibition was a scandal in its day [galleristny]
Previously and most definitely related: Mary Kelly's Post-Partum Document and Marni Kotak's Raising Baby X

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