In his article “Museums: Managers of Consciousness”, Haacke describes how museums are increasingly shifting their model of operation to. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions. If you want to put it in negati ” – Hans Haacke quotes from Haacke H.’Museums, managers of consciousness’ B. Wallis (Ed.), Hans Haacke: unfinished business, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and MIT.
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Haacke goes on to suggest that the art world is more business than pleasure or romance. How far the Saatchis in London will get managfrs dominating the Tate Gallery’s Patrons of New Art-and thereby the museum’s policies for contemporary art-is currently watched with the same fascination and nervousness as developments in the Kremlin.
It follows that political considerations play a role in the appointment of museum directors. Like their peers in other industries, they prepare budgets and development plans and present them for approval to their respective public supervising bodies and funding agencies. Since the corporate blanket is so warm, glaring examples of direct interference rare, and the increasing dominance of the museums’ development offices hard to trace, the change of climate is hardly perceived, nor is it taken as a threat.
Managers of Consciousness By Hans Haacke. These can often provide a creative and cost-effective answer to a specific marketing objective, particularly where international, governmental or consumer relations may be a fundamental concern.
Corporate public relations officers know that the greatest publicity benefits can be derived from high-visibility events, shows that draw crowds and are covered extensively by the popular media; these are shows that are based on and create myths-in short, blockbusters. Staying consciousneas the acceptable range of divergent views must be perceived as the natural thing to do.
In addition, it is possible to argue over the extent to which the physical object determines the manner in which the receiver decodes it. The producer and the distributor must then weigh the impact. As a matter of fact, I have serious reservations about their training, the mentality it fosters, and the consequences it will have. To make such an assertion may sound outrageous because according to popular myth, liberal regimes do not behave this way. The Metropolitan Museum in New York is one case where this split has already occurred.
In accepting public grants, however, they became accountable-even if in practice only to a limited degree-to government agencies. Starting on a large scale towards the end of the s in the United States and expanding rapidly ever since, corporate funding has spread during the last five years to Britain and the Continent. Conversely, the taxpayers so affect do not shy away from deducting relevant business expenses.
And such an institution should be challenged if it refuses to acknowledge that it operates mansgers constraints deriving from its sources of funding and from the authority to which it reports. It is recognized musfums both capitals that not only the mass media deserve monitoring, but also those activities which are normally relegated to special sections at the back of newspapers.
Another German example of the way in which direct industrial benefits flow from investment in art may be seen in the activities of the collector Peter Ludwig. In my final essay for this course, I am interested to explore the implications of Google as the corporate sponsor for this Art Project. Of course, all these and other skills have been employed for decades by art-world musejms of the old school.
In New York and possibly elsewhere, real-estate speculators follow with great interest the move of artists into low-rent commercial and residential areas. Following consciousnesx instincts, they have often been more successful managers than the new graduates promise to be, since the latter are mainly taught by professors with little or no direct knowledge of the peculiarities of the art world.
Once they are in office and have civil service status with tenure, such officials often enjoy more independence than their colleagues in the United States, who can be dismissed from one day to the next, as occurred with Bates Lowry and John Hightower at the Museum of Modern Art within a few years time. As the museum becomes increasingly subject to corporate influence, it is likely that the consciousness created by museums through programs and exhibitions will confirm rather than challenge the dominant ideology within our culture; this could mean the continued exclusion of racial minorities, the perpetuation of cultural stereotypes and gender roles, and the objectification of women as sexualized commodities.
As for art dealers, it goes without saying that they are engaged in running businesses. Those who in fact plan and execute industrial strategies tend, whether by inclination or need, to mystify art and conceal its industrial aspects and often fall for their own propaganda.
It would be wrong, however, to assume that the objective and the mentality of every art executive are or should be at odds with those on whose support his organization depends. Again museums felt they had no choice but to turn to corporations for a bail-out.
And these do not by any means represent the interests of everybody. A public relations executive of Mobil in New York aptly called the company’s art support a “good will umbrella,” and his colleague from Exxon referred to it as a “social lubricant. They make no apologies and have few romantic hang-ups. The Terminal Show was a brainchild of the city’s Public Development Corporation; it was meant to draw attention to the industrial potential of the former Brooklyn Army Terminal building.
Ludwig may have risked his reputation as a connoisseur of art, but by buying into the Soviet consciousness industry he proved his taste for sweet deals. They normally protest against tax rulings which declare their work to be nothing but a hobby, or to put it in Kantian terms, the pursuit of “disinterested pleasure.
On the other hand, a new breed has recently appeared on the industrial landscape: Traditionally, however, the old-timers are shy in admitting to themselves and others the industrial character of their activities and most still do not view themselves as managers.
What began as a liberating drive turned into its opposite.
The resulting box-office pressure made the museums still more dependent on corporate funding. It is the result of a collective historical endeavor, embedded in and reflecting particular value system, aspiration, and goals. It was hoped that the event would revitalize the economically depressed region close to the German border and that it would prop up the local tourist industry. Thus the business mentality has always been conspicuously strong at the decision-making level of private museums in the United States.
To compound these problems, there are the historical contingencies of the codes and the unavoidable biases of those who decipher them.
As long as an institution is not squeamish about company involvement in press releases, posters, advertisements, and its exhibition catalogue, its grant proposal for such an extravaganza is likely to be examined with sympathy. While the rule of the boards of trustees of museums in the United States is generally uncontested, the supervisory bodies of public institutions elsewhere have to contend much more with public opinion and the prevailing political climate.
Without exerting any direct pressure, corporations have effectively gained a veto in museums, even though their financial contribution often covers only a fraction of the costs of an exhibition. Through my analysis of the artworks on display, I found very little to challenge the dominant ideologies surrounding race, gender roles, and the objectification of women; there were hardly any racial minority figures displayed, men were portrayed as wise and knowledgeable in business, and women were shown as sexual objects nude, red lipstick, mouths open.
To say that this change might have consequences beyond the confines of the institution and that it affects the type of art that is and will be produced therefore can sound like over-dramatization. Artists, as much as galleries, museums, and journalists not excluding art historianshesitate to discuss the industrial aspect of their activities.
Following their own ideological inclinations and making them national managere, President Reagan and Mrs. It is widely believed that the motive behind his buying a large chunk of government-sanctioned Soviet art and displaying it in “his” museums was to open the Soviet market for his chocolate company.