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German Spaces, Haacke’s Places: Hans Haacke’s Germania at the 1993 Venice Biennale

Paul Jaskot, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art. What do we learn when we explore Hans Haacke’s spatial choices for his site-specific works? An emphasis on their physical components and hence their spatial significance is well established in his practice. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in his 1993 entry for the German Pavilion at the Venice Bienniale, an installation he titled Germania. For Haacke, this particular German space, originally created in 1908 as the Bavarian Pavilion for the biennial art fair, had been made into a fascist place by Ernst Haiger’s 1938 remodeling, which in turn resonated for him in the moment of post-reunification Germany’s triumph over the Communist east. In this lecture, recorded on May 15, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Paul Jaskot discusses the dynamic relationship between the redesign of the pavilion in 1938 as a specifically German site and Haacke’s subsequent engagement in 1993.