New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery at Prince St.
Thursday, January 16, $10, 7:00
Exhibition continues through January 26
Debate has raged across the country over public statues honoring figures who are now considered by many to be controversial, from Civil War leaders to doctors and presidents. Here in New York, there have been calls to take down James Earle Fraser’s statue of Theodore Roosevelt because of claims that Roosevelt was a white supremacist, and She Built NYC, organized to erect statues of pioneering women, refused to include Mother Frances Cabrini in their final list of subjects even though she garnered the most nominations in a public vote. (Governor Cuomo intervened; a statue of the saint will go up in Battery Park’s South Cove.) On January 16, the New Museum is hosting the panel discussion “The Plinth and Monumentality,” which will examine monument-making from multiple angles. The conversation, featuring artist and curator Kendal Henry of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, artist and Hunter College associate professor Paul Ramírez Jonas (whose “Half-Truths” ran at the museum last year), architect, designer, and educator J. Meejin Yoon, and moderator Andrew An Westover of the New Museum, is being held in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibition “Hans Haacke: All Connected,” a retrospective of the eighty-three-year-old German-born, New York-based artist who has been exploring the sociopolitical links between art and commerce, class, corporations, and the environment through photography, sculpture, and installation for more than half a century.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is Haacke’s 2014 Gift Horse, a large-scale sculpture of the skeleton of a horse mounted on a platform, taking up much of the fourth floor gallery space. An electronic bow around its frontal thighbone transmits a live digital printout of the FTSE 100 ticker of the New York Stock Exchange. Also on view is DER BEVÖLKERUNG [TO THE POPULATION], a provocative public project Haacke proposed for the Bundestag. In a catalog interview, Haacke notes, “I consider how the public might understand a work and whether it would, indeed, promote openness and democratic values or — to put it in French revolutionary terms — liberté, égalité, fraternité.”