Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Thank You, Paine Webber

Hans Haacke (German, born Cologne, 1936)
Gelatin silver print and chromogenic print
107.3 x 103.2 cm (42 1/4 x 40 5/8 in.), each Frame: 109.2 × 104.8 cm (43 × 41 1/4 in.), each
Credit Line:
Purchase, Vital Projects Fund Inc. Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2010
Accession Number:
2010.416a, b
Not on view
Since the early 1970s Haacke has taken on the intertwined political and corporate forces that use cultural patronage as a smokescreen to advance interests that are often antithetical to the vitality of free speech and expression in democracies. Haacke made this work just as the strategy of appropriation—lifting an image out of its original context and re-presenting it in critical fashion—began to make waves in the New York art world of the late 1970s. Like all effective appropriation, it exposes a prior instance of borrowing—in this case, how the investment firm Paine Webber used a documentary photograph to give its annual report the veneer of social concern. The artist then pointedly contrasted it with an image from the same annual report of a beaming trio of executives in a painting-lined gallery. As a counterpoint to the protestor’s signboard, Haacke dropped in text from a different Paine Webber ad campaign to show on whose backs the “risk management” is taking place—a biting indictment, the relevance of which has only increased since the recent economic downturn.
Gerald S. Fineberg, Boston, Massachusetts (by 1987); the artist

John Weber Gallery. "Hans Haacke," May 5, 1979–May 29, 1979.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. "This Is Not A Photograph: Twenty Years of Large-Scale Photography, 1966-1986," March 6, 1987–May 31, 1987.

X Initiative. "Hans Haacke: Weather, or Not," November 21, 2009–February 28, 2010.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "After the Gold Rush: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection," March 22, 2011–January 2, 2012.

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