Hans Haacke
Lost in America
Group Show

Carver Audain, Set-a-Spell US Idiomatic, Countrified, 2018. Found flag, rocking chair, cinder blocks. Photo: Jia Li.

September 10, 2020–January 17, 2021
Opening: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, noon–10pm
Artists: Michael Asher, Carver Audain, John Steuart Curry, Sam Durant, Jimmie Durham, Andrea Fraser, Dan Graham, Renée Green, Calla Henkel / Max Pitegoff, Mike Kelley, Caitlin MacBride, Jill Magid, Ken Lum, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Cameron Rowland, Robert Venturi / Denise Scott Brown, Jessica Vaughn, Marisa Williamson
Curator: John Miller

With Lost in America, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) presents a group exhibition of works by American artists from 1938 to the present which sharpens our understanding of the current political situation in the USA. The exhibition revisits American history with investigations of the influences and developments that have shaped the identity of the United States through its specific national and political economy—in particular the institution of slavery and its tragic legacy in terms of culture and everyday life. A central theme is the examination of racism and its role in a neoliberal agenda that significantly influences social discourses and political decisions. Lost in America is concerned with the ideological formation of modes of production and urban planning, architecture, and design, and with the overarching institutionalization of discriminatory dispositives. In doing so, it ultimately highlights the inherent potential of conceptual art practices to expose and critique the structures that underpin society.

Hans Haacke. 20 Years of “DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population)” at the German Bundestag. A Project Documentation.
September 10, 2020–January 15, 2021
Opening: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, noon–10pm
Curator: Oliver Schwarz

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population), documents, drafts, and archival materials on the genesis and reception of Hans Haacke’s once controversially discussed art project will be displayed at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein‘s Showroom. The artist designed this participatory project in 1998 at the invitation of the German Bundestag for the northern atrium of the Reichstag building. After a fierce debate in the Bundestag, his proposal was accepted by a narrow majority in a roll-call vote; the work was inaugurated on September 12, 2000. Haacke drew inspiration for his work from Bertolt Brecht’s essay “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth” (1934). His dedication DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population) is a direct reference to the inscription “DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE” (To the German People), which was mounted on the gable of the west portal of the Reichstag building in 1916. Using the same typeface as that on the west portal, the dedication DER BEVÖLKERUNG has beamed towards the sky in neon letters from the bottom of a wooden trough for the last 20 years. Upon the artist’s invitation, more than 400 members of the Bundestag have each scattered a hundredweight of earth from their respective constituencies around the dedication in the trough. A wild, untamed biotope has sprung from the seeds already present in the soil.

Poster and banner campaign in the public space
On the occasion of Berlin Art Week 2020, n.b.k. is initiating the presentation of Hans Haacke’s work, Wir (alle) sind das Volk (We (all) are the people), 2003/2017. The work will be displayed on the facades of select partner institutions in Berlin. Originally designed for a public ideas competition in Leipzig, Haacke’s work takes up the slogan of East German demonstrators from 1989 in order to emphasize solidarity among all people, including migrants and refugees. Exhibition venues: Akademie der Künste at Pariser Platz, Gropius Bau, KINDL – Center for Contemporary Art, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Volksbühne Berlin, and other partner institutions.

More information at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

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