Hans Haacke

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

Not on view

A landmark work of institutional critique, Hans
Haacke’s Shapolsky et al Manhattan Real Estate Holdings,
A Real Time Social System as of May 1, 1971
chronicles the
fraudulent activities of one of New York City’s largest slumlords over the
course of two decades. The work comprises 146 photographs of Manhattan
apartment buildings, mostly tenements; maps of Harlem and the Lower East Side;
photographs and charts documenting real estate transactions; and texts with
information about the location, ownership structure, and financial histories of
the buildings. Haacke culled all of his data from the public record, adapting a
neutral presentational style that resembles various contemporaneous projects in
Conceptual art. Shapolsky et al. was
to be part of the artist’s solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in the
spring of 1971, but the show was cancelled six weeks before its scheduled
opening.

Artist
Hans Haacke

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

Date
1971

Classification
Photographs

Medium
9 photostats, 142 gelatin silver prints, and 142 photocopies

Dimensions
Dimensions variable

Edition information
2/2


Audio

  • America Is Hard to See

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

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

    0:00

    Donna De Salvo: I’m Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

    In this work, Haacke used existing, public records to construct the history of a series of buildings owned by a single family. One hundred and forty-six photographs, maps of Harlem and the Lower East Side, where these properties were located, and charts documenting the real estate transactions over the period of ownership of these works.

    In many ways, it’s a highly objective document, in that it puts forward a series of facts about these various properties, owned by a real estate, owned by a landlord who was not perceived as reputable in the way that he dealt with his tenants. And this is something that is very consistent throughout Haacke’s work, is looking at systems of exchange, systems of ownership of works of art, and at the heart of it is really laying bare the kinds of transactions that are often obscured. The kinds of movement and exchanges that one thinks of in terms of economic systems, market systems, and social systems.

    This work garnered enormous controversy when it was scheduled for presentation in 1971 at the Guggenheim Museum. And in fact, not only was Haacke’s show canceled, but the curator who had organized the exhibition was terminated from their position.    



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