Hans Haacke on “Gift Horse,” Gulf Labor, and Artist Resale Royalties

Early last March, London’s Conservative mayor Boris Johnson unveiled Hans Haacke’s “Gift Horse,” the tenth commission installed on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Described on the Greater London Authority’s website as a rumination on the “link[s] between power, money, and history,” “Gift Horse” consists of a bronze horse skeleton and a live electronic ticker of the London Stock Exchange. During the unveiling, both Johnson and Haackeevaded questions about the work’s meaning; Johnson acutely aware of the sculpture’s import during a period of harsh economic austerity, and Haacke preferring to leave the interpretation of his work to viewers.  Read the question and answer:

TM: Have you ever attributed specific political and social changes to your art?

HH: That would be megalomania!

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