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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:38

Hans Haacke, Seurat's 'Les Poseuses' (small version)

Video transcript

you know we've been talking about whether or not the art is contained in the object or the artist contained in the things that surround it and what's really interesting is that in the late 20th century artists started to make art that was explicitly about the way that society frames a work of art and one of the great examples of that is by intense haka from 1975 a work of art which takes a small painting by the famous new impressionist painter George Sara everybody knows his painting the Isle of the ground shot but what Hakka did is he centered his work of art on a small sketch by Seraph and this work of art had gone from the artists studio through many many hands until it ended up partially owned by an investment firm and actually put in a bank vault and so he frames a series of pieces of paper that says who the owner is and so each framed object on the wall shows the history of the collecting of this painting and so it went from being this object in the artist studio to something that was now in a bank vault whose price had increased dramatically from something that had no price associated with it and when it was first produced as simply a sketch to something that was worth in excess of a million dollars by 1975 this is the sketch that we're looking at right is that this guy this is like a painting this is well yeah the sketch itself is actually a painting it's a small version in full color of the painting itself okay so when you say sketch it's just kind of a small exactly it's a model for the large scale this was done by Seurat exactly and Hakka he he took he actually in his his piece of art or I guess installation whatever we call it he took the original piece of art no he didn't just photo and he didn't even bro is literally a photocopy well he didn't have access to the original because the original was now in a bank vault anything that was part of his issue that now this was something that was out of circulation old it had become an investment as opposed to a work of art that existed in the world and this is interesting I mean this is something that I guess it is all I keep struggle a little bit because at minimum I'm willing to say that this is definitely interesting like I think it's interesting to just you have that I mean it feels like something we would do at Khan Academy in terms of just look at this piece of art and look at how who's owned and isn't this something to think about it it's almost a grasp of its financial value exactly and and the reason why going back to the the art not art or traditional notions of art and modern notions of art and this is definitely a very modern notion of art it's it's not a you know five hundred years ago in fact the original work of art is absent yes what I actually really like about it and I feel is to some degree almost more consistent than a lot of what we've looked at is that he did not feel the need to do it on oil and canvas that he felt that look that's not a I do like the fact that he said well look if we're just gonna go really pushing the envelope why am i stuck to this you know mixing paint and and all the rest that general idea is actually a very good idea and you almost hope that like you can have a whole museum of that of people documenting what these pieces of artwork are where they've been all these all these things that are no longer accessible to the public and where are they what's their history I think that'd be a fascinating thing too but also it really documents the way the objects meaning has changed so it's not just through the financial value that's an issue but it's also the way in which it began is something that was intimate and that was really a stepping stone towards another major finished painting and then becomes almost a simple monetary instrument so is something gained is something lost it goes from be something personal to the artist to being a commodity that's what everyone some degree cares about that's their fascination what is this worth what is someone willing to pay for what's it and and I'm kind of completed because I've asked those same questions when I seen I've asked you all that's it what is this worth or what are you know what's the history of it and I really like the idea of what hakka did it's both a little sad it is taking art and a lot of this art is this very personal thing in it I'm actually just pointing out irony or hypocrisy or something but at the same time I actually think it's it's almost really healthy and maybe every piece of artwork should have that where you see it you actually see where it's been and it's interesting that it's an artist doing it as opposed to an institution right it's not a museum that or a curatorial but it's actually seen as the more subjective radical positioning of an artist yeah and that's interesting because I mean it's I mean because it's a one-off piece it looks like a or it's and I know this was his intention is this work of art but it does fall into kind of you know curation and a really good curation idea for me it's as well it's just a an interesting curation idea of provocative idea can that be considered art and in fact there's an entire movement that developed from the 1960s through the 70s and 80s up to the present which is known as institutional critique where artists have used art to point out some of the politically more sensitive issues that surround the exhibition of art so there is this interesting antagonistic relationship that can exist I mean I mean this is really art as a tool for social commentary which I guess is what it always was I said that is the statement initially saying oh this is so different than you know but I was like well maybe not a lot of the discussion that we've had talks about the complex relationship between the market between institutions and between art and artists and so this kind of institutional critique really puts a spotlight on that but it doesn't seem to be a good strategy overall I mean I actually really appreciate it as a that he's doing that and it's very honest and not hypocritical what does it mean even when the market has absorbed the avant-garde to try to remain outside what do you think has been the less so what do you think the lesson has been learned from the art market well now artists are specifically invited to museums to do a kind of institutional critique because now we actually know that there's real value its market value in it and there's other kinds of value in it and so there's a kind of inviting of artists into the space of a museum to do that well that it kind of cheapens it in a strange way and so how do the benefactors or the sponsors view this that's a really interesting question I'm not sure that all corporate entities are open to that but I think they're the ones that are take a kind of enlightened position that actually I think is seen in a very positive way you