HANS HAACKE MUSEUMS MANAGERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS PDF

It reads, From an economic standpoint, such involvement in the arts can mean direct and tangible benefits. It can provide a company with extensive publicity and advertising, a brighter public reputation, and an improved corporate image. It can build better customer relations, a readier acceptance of company products, and a superior appraisal of their quality. Promotion of the arts can improve the morale of employees and help attract qualified personnel. To put it simply, art has the potential to expand commodity exchange and also deaden the critique of capitalism as a system of domination.

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No citation, sorry, I lent my copy and it walked The art world as a whole, and museums in particular, belong to what has aptly been called the "consciousness industry. Although he did not specifically elaborate on the art world, his article did refer to it in passing. Like Enzensberger, I believe the use of the term "industry" for the entire range of activities of those who are employed or working on a freelance basis in the art field has a salutary effect.

With one stroke that term cuts through the romantic clouds that envelop the often misleading and mythical notions widely held about the production, distribution, and consumption of art. Artists, as much as galleries, museums, and journalists not excluding art historians , hesitate to discuss the industrial aspect of their activities. An unequivocal acknowledgment might endanger the cherished romantic ideas with which most art world participants enter the field, and which still sustain them emotionally today.

Supplanting the traditional bohemian image of the art world with that of a business operation could also negatively affect the marketability of its products and interfere with fundraising efforts. 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.

Given the prevalent marketability of myths, it may sound almost sacrilegious to insist on using the term "industry. Trained by prestigious business schools, they are convinced that art can and should be managed like the production and marketing of other goods.

They make no apologies and have few romantic hang-ups. They do not blush in assessing the receptivity and potential development of an audience for their product.

As a natural part of their education, they are conversant with budgeting, investment, and price-setting strategies. They have studied organization goals, managerial structures, and the peculiar social and political environment of their organization.

Even the intricacies of labor relation and the ways in which interpersonal issues might affect the organization are part of their curriculum. Of course, all these and other skills have been employed for decades by art-world denizens of the old school. Following their 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.

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. It is to be expected that the lack of delusions and aspirations among the new art administrators will have a noticeable impact on the state of the industry. Being trained primarily as technocrats, they are less likely to have an emotional attachment to the peculiar nature of the product they are promoting.

And this attitude, in turn, will have an effect on the type of products we will soon begin to see. My insistence on the term "industry" is not motivated by sympathy for the new technocrats.

As a matter of fact, I have serious reservations about their training, the mentality it fosters, and the consequences it will have. 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, we 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.

Supervisory boards are becoming aware of this fact. Given current financial problems, they try to streamline their operation. Consequently, the present director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York has a management background, and the boards of trustees of other U. The Metropolitan Museum in New York is one case where this split has already occurred. The debate often centers merely on which of the two executives should and will in fact have the last word.

Traditionally, the boards of trustees of U. The board is legally responsible for the institution and consequently the trustees are the ultimate authority. Thus the business mentality has always been conspicuously strong at the decision-making level of private museums in the United States.

However, the state of affairs is not essentially different in public museums in other parts of the world. Whether the directors have an art-historical background or not, they perform, in fact, the tasks of the chief executive officer of a business organization. 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.

The staging of an international exhibition such as a Biennale or a Documenta presents a major managerial challenge with repercussions not only for what is being managed, but also for the future career of the executive in charge. Responding to a realistic appraisal of their lot, even artists are now acquiring managerial training in workshops funded by public agencies in the United States Such sessions are usually well attended, as artists recognize that the managerial skills for running a small business could have a bearing on their own survival.

Some of the more successful artists employ their own business managers. As for art dealers, it goes without saying that they are engaged in running businesses. The success of their enterprises and the future of the artists in their stables obviously depend a great deal on their managerial skills. They are assisted by paid advisors, accountants, lawyers, and public relations agents.

In turn, collectors often do their collecting with the assistance of a paid staff. At least in passing, I should mention that numerous other industries depend on the economic vitality of the art branch of the consciousness industry.

Arts administrators do not exaggerate when they defend their claims for public support by pointing to the number of jobs that are affected not only in their own institutions, but also in communications and, particularly, in the hotel and restaurant industries. In New York and possibly elsewhere, real-estate speculators follow with great interest the move of artists into low-rent commercial and residential areas.

From experience they know that artists unwittingly open these areas for gentrification and lucrative development. 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 to attract developers of high-rent housing.

And the Museum of Modern Art, having erected a luxury apartment tower over its own building, is also now actively involved in real estate. Elsewhere, city governments have recognized the importance of the art industry. The city of Hannover in West Germany, for example, sponsored several widely publicized art events in an attempt to improve its dull image.

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. 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 it was assumed that Kassel would be put on the map by an international art exhibition.

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. 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. 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.

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. More recently, Ludwig recapitalized his company by selling a collection of medieval manuscripts to the J. As a shrewd businessman, Ludwig used the money to establish a foundation that owns shares in his company. Aside from the reasons already mention, the discomfort in applying industrial nomenclature to works of art may also have to do with the fact that these products are not entirely physical in nature.

Although transmitted in one material form or another, they are developed in and by consciousness and have meaning only for another consciousness. In addition, it is possible to argue over the extent to which the physical object determines the manner in which the receiver decodes it.

Such interpretive work is in turn a product of consciousness, performed gratis by each viewer but potentially salable if undertaken by curators, historians, critics, appraisers, teachers, etc. The hesitancy to use industrial concepts and language can probably also be attributed to our lingering idealist tradition, which associates such work with the "spirit," a term with religious overtones and one that indicates the avoidance of mundane considerations. The tax authorities, however, have no compunction in assessing the income derived from the "spiritual" activities.

Conversely, the taxpayers so affect do not shy away from deducting relevant business expenses. 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.

The product of the consciousness industry, however, is not only elusive because of its seemingly nonsecular nature and its aspects of intangibility. More disconcerting, perhaps, is the fact that we do not even totally command our individual consciousness.

It is, in fact, not our private property, homegrown and home to retire to. It is the result of a collective historical endeavor, embedded in and reflecting particular value system, aspiration, and goals. And these do not by any means represent the interests of everybody. Nor are we dealing with a universally accepted body of knowledge or beliefs. Word has gotten around that material conditions and the ideological context in which an individual grows up and lives determines to a considerable extent his or her consciousness.

As has been pointed out and not only by Marxists social scientists and psychologists , consciousness is not a pure, independent, value-free entity, evolving according to internal, self-sufficient, and universal rules.

It is contingent, a battleground of conflicting interests. Correspondingly, the products of consciousness represent interests and interpretation of the world that are potentially at odds with each other.

The products of the means of production, like those means themselves, are not neutral. As they were shaped by their respective environments and social relation, so do they in turn influence our view of the human condition.

Currently we are witnessing a great retreat to the private cocoon. 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.

At that point, art works are no longer a private affair. The producer and the distributor must then weigh the impact. But it is important to recognize that the codes employed by artists are often not as clear and unambiguous as those in other fields of communication. Controlled ambiguity may, in fact, be one of the characteristics of much Western art since the Renaissance. To compound these problems, there are the historical contingencies of the codes and the unavoidable biases of those who decipher them.

With so many variables, there is ample room for exegesis and a livelihood is thus guaranteed for many workers in the consciousness industry. Although the product under discussion appears to be quite slippery, it is by no means inconsequential, as cultural functionaries from Moscow to Washington make clear every day. It is recognized in 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.

The New York Times calls it weekend section "Arts and Leisure" and covers under this heading theater, dance, film, art, numismatics, gardening, and other ostensibly harmless activities.

Other papers carry these items under equally innocuous titles, such as "culture," "entertainment," or "lifestyle. I think they do so for good reason. 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.

The channeling of consciousness is pervasive not only under dictatorships, but also in liberal societies. To make such an assertion may sound outrageous because according to popular myth, liberal regimes do not behave this way. Such an assertion could also be misunderstood as an attempt to downplay the brutality with which mainstream conduct is enforced in totalitarian regimes, or as a claim that coercion of the same viciousness is practiced elsewhere as well.

In nondictatorial societies, the induction into and the maintenance of a particular way of thinking and seeing must be performed with subtlety in order to succeed.

Staying within the acceptable range of divergent views must be perceived as the natural thing to do. Within the art world, museums and other institutions that stage exhibitions play an important role in the inculcation of opinions and attitudes.

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Consciousness Industry

No citation, sorry, I lent my copy and it walked The art world as a whole, and museums in particular, belong to what has aptly been called the "consciousness industry. Although he did not specifically elaborate on the art world, his article did refer to it in passing. Like Enzensberger, I believe the use of the term "industry" for the entire range of activities of those who are employed or working on a freelance basis in the art field has a salutary effect.

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Hans Haacke

Arakree In effect, they are unwitting sponsors of private corporate policies, which in many cases, are detrimental to their health and safety, the general welfare, and in conflict with their personal ethics. 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. It could open doors, facilitate passage of favorable legislation, and serve as a shield against scrutiny and criticism of corporate conduct. Conversations of Theory Certainly the election victory of Mrs. Why are biotech companies suddenly sponsoring art about genes?

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Hans Haacke - Museums, Managers of Consciousness

Faeramar Museums: Managers of Consciousness 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 manzgers, as occurred with Bates Lowry and John Hightower at the Museum of Modern Art within a few years time. Haacke says this is contradictory to the nature of art, and the meaning behind art. As long as an institution is not squeamish about company involvement in press releases, posters, advertisements, and its exhibition mamagers, its grant proposal for such an extravaganza is likely to be examined with sympathy. Whether museums contend with governments, power-trips of individuals, or the corporate steamroller, they are in the business of molding and channeling consciousness. Indeed, museums usually claim to subscribe to the canons of impartial scholarship. As the need to spend enormous sums for public relations and government propaganda indicates, things are not frozen. Rather than sponsoring intelligent, critical awareness, museums thus tend to foster appeasement.

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