Željko Kipke / 2016
American artist of German descent Hans Haacke fell from grace with the director of the Guggenheim museum because at an independent exhibition in April 1971 he intended to inform on the background of the murky business with the real estate in some New York neighbourhoods (Harlem, Lower East Side).
The exhibition was cancelled six weeks before the opening, the curator Edward Fort Fry – as the museum’s external associate – was fired and the director Thomas Messer tried to justify these actions by saying that Haacke’s research was incompatible with the function of an art institution. Fifteen years later, the same conceptual artist exposed suspicious transactions with the real estate at another New York museum (Hans Haacke: Unfinished Business, New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1986–1987). Without any doubt, Messer’s explanation sounds ridiculous nowadays and it is hard to understand for the generations of artists who, if they feel like it, tear down the walls of galleries in order to publicly display their frustrations or disagreement with their organization, especially with the politics of leading institutions in the world of art.