On Site Specificity

A conversation with Hans Haacke and others about the role of site and place in his historical and contemporary work


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies
  • Curatorial practice
  • Pedagogy

Organizing Institutions



Nora Alter, Aaron Levy


Christian Tomaszewski


Department of Fine Arts, PennDesign; Kaja Silverman, the Visual Studies Program in the Department of Art History, the Department of English and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania; Department of Film and Media Arts, Temple University.

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


75% Formal - 25% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "On Site Specificity," a public conversation with Hans Haacke and Alexander Alberro on Thursday, November 29th 2012 from 6:30-8:30pm. A brief power-point slide presentation by Hans Haacke will accompany the conversation.

This event will address the different facets of what has come to be referred to as "site specificity" in the artistic practice of Hans Haacke. While Haacke may not have originated site specificity per se, he certainly played an important historical role in its development, and his work continues to be informed by site specific questions. What is site specificity? Why might it have become such an important artistic issue in the 1960s and 70s? How has this practice changed or expanded over the years? What are some of the larger questions or problems it poses to contemporary artistic practice?

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Hans Haacke was born in Cologne in 1936 and has lived in New York since the early 1960s. Among the institutions that have held one-person exhibitions of Haacke's work are The Tate Gallery, London, 1984; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 1986; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1989; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2012. "For real," a two-venue exhibition, was presented in 2006 at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

His work was included in four Documentas and in the Biennials of Tokyo, Sydney, Saõ Paulo, Johannesburg, Gwangju and the Whitney Biennial (2000). Haacke shared a Golden Lion with Nam June Paik for the best pavilion of the 1993 Venice Biennial. Free Exchange, a conversation by the artist with Pierre Bourdieu, was published in 1994 (Stanford University Press,1995). In 2000, a permanent installation of his was inaugurated in the Reichstag (the German Parliament building), and in 2006 a public commission commemorating Rosa Luxemburg was completed in a three-block area in the center of Berlin.

Alexander Alberro, the Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University, and the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2004). He has published in a broad array of journals and exhibition catalogues, and edited a number of books on contemporary art, most recently The Ruin of Exchange (2012), Institutional Critique (2009), and Art After Conceptual Art (2007). Alberro's areas of specialization are modern and contemporary European, U.S., and Latin American art, as well as the history of photography. He is presently completing a book-length study of the emergence and development of abstract art in Latin America, and beginning to work on a volume that explores the new forms of art and spectatorship that have crystallized in the past two decades.