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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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.

Correspondingly, the products of consciousness represent interests and interpretation of the world that are potentially at odds with each other. They have understood, sometimes better than the people who work in the leisure suits of culture, that the term “culture” camouflages the social and political consequences resulting from the industrial distribution of consciousness. Irrespective of their own love for or indifference towards art, they recognized that a company’s association with museumw could yield benefits far out of proportion to a specific financial investment.

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.

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Currently we are witnessing a great retreat to the private cocoon. The artistic staff is not exempt from the strain of the bottom-line; as curators decide which works of art to include in an exhibition, they must keep in mind what artists and artworks will attract the largest crowds and which ones might offend or deter board members, donors, and corporate sponsors. Marketing and development departments are emerging and expanding, indicating the extent to which contemporary museums feel pressured to bring in larger audiences and greater financial support from individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors in order to balance their operating budget.

And these do not by any means represent the interests of everybody.

Haacke says this is contradictory to the nature of art, and the meaning behind art. The producer and the distributor must then consiousness the impact.


The resulting box-office pressure made the museums still more dependent on corporate funding. The larger, more lavishly appointed these shows and their catalogues became, however, the more glamour the audiences began to expect.

Adherents of the doctrine believe that art does not and should not reflect the squabbles of the day. Some artists and promoters may reject any commitment and refuse to accept the notion that their work presents a point of view beyond itself or that it fosters certain attitudes; nevertheless, as soon as work enjoys larger exposure it inevitably participates in public discourse, advances particular systems of belief, and has reverberation in the social arena.

Every museum is perforce a political institution, no matter whether it is privately run or maintained and supervised by governmental agencies. Of course, consciousnesw these and other skills have been employed for decades by art-world denizens of the old school.

manager For example, the value of sponsorship is measured in the number of impressions yielded by the inclusion of the corporate logo on museum promotional materials.

They do not blush in assessing the receptivity and potential development of an audience for their product. 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 naacke organization depends.

They are affected less by who happens to be the occupant of the White House or the mayor’s office, although this is not totally irrelevant for the success of applications for public grants.

The Whitney Museum consciousneess even gone one step further. Mayor Koch, always a friend to the realtors who stuff his campaign chest, tried recently to plant artists into particular streets on the Lower East Side to accomplish what is euphemistically called the “rehabilitation” of a neighborhood, but what in fact means squeezing out an indigenous poor population in order hasn attract developers of high-rent housing. It is well-documented that Documenta is held in an out-of-the-way place like Kassel and given economic support by the city, state, and federal government because mahagers was assumed that Kassel would be put on the map by an international art exhibition.

What the emergence of arts administration departments in business schools demonstrates, however, is the fact that in spite of the mystique surrounding the production and distribution of art, mnagers are now-and indeed have been all along-dealing with social organizations that follow industrial modes of operation, ranging in size from the cottage industry to national and multinational conglomerates.


Managers of Consciousness

Funding, as much as one’s prospect for promotion to more prestigious posts, depends on how well one can play the game. Rather than sponsoring intelligent, critical awareness, museums thus tend to foster appeasement. Even if the art show condemns the companies themselves, their marketing still works, their work is still brought out into the public eye.

Indeed, they usually present themselves as educational donsciousness and consider education as one of their primary responsibilities. You have the start of an inside view of the challenges museum professional face when dealing with these macro cultural and institutional problems.

As large corporation point to the cultural life of their location in order to attract sophisticated personnel, so Hannover speculated that the outlay for art would be amortized many times by the attraction the city would gain for businesses seeking sites for relocation. Haacke denounces this, and asserts it becomes similar to the way dictatorships consciosness totalitarian governments publicize government propaganda. The tax authorities, however, have no compunction in assessing the income derived from the “spiritual” activities.

Hans Haacke

Whether myseums contend with governments, power-trips of individuals, or the corporate steamroller, they are in the business of molding and channeling consciousness. Haacke believes that by doing this art can remain democratic as it was intended to be. Museums, of haackw, are not blind to the attraction for business of lobbying through art.

Then came the recessions of the s and s. Under Clement Greenberg’s tutelage, everything that made worldly references was simply excommunicated from art so as to shield the Grail of taste from contamination.

In an ever-advancing spiral the public was made to believe that only Hollywood-style extravaganzas were worth seeing and that only they could give an accurate sense of the world of haackf. Ambitious exhibition programs that could not be financed through traditional sources led museums to turn to corporations for support.

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