Comparison of 3 Art Exhibition Visitors’ Profiles , 1972-76
Hans Haacke

Ten silkscreen prints mounted on aluminum.
98 x 88 cm.
Results of polls taken at Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, 1972;
Documenta 5, 1972; Kunstverein Hannover, 1973.
Courtesy of the artist.

Comparison of 3 Art Exhibition Visitors’ Profiles is a comparison of the results of three polls conducted in art exhibitions in Germany between 1972 and 1973. These surveys gathered answers to socio-political and demographic questions on the audience at the exhibitions. Questions on the visitors’ political opinions were adjusted to the three different contexts, while the demographic questions remained the same. Each of the three polls posed twenty questions. The comparison was made between the answers to the nine questions that were identical at each of the three venues. While in Hannover and Krefeld the answers to the questions were tabulated by hand, at Documenta 5 in Kassel they were processed by the regional computer center. Intermediate results were posted during each of these exhibitions. The demographic questions concerned the visitors’ age, profession, income, education, and relation to the art world. The socio-political questions inquired about their opinions on laws regarding abortion, the influence of churches on the country’s affairs, the admission of members of Communist organizations to the civil service, and which political party would vote for. The comparison of polling results was produced for a solo exhibition at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in 1976. Haacke’s first poll Gallery-Goers’ Birthplace and Residence Profile, Part 1 was taken in 1969 at the Howard Wise Gallery, New York. The following year he had planned a computer-processed multiple choice opinion survey of the visitors to the Software exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York. In 1971, Haacke successfully used programmed computers to cross-reference data collected on the audience at Milwaukee Art Center.

Comparison of 3 Art Exhibition Visitors’ Profiles correlates data to provide a comparative analysis as evidence of sociological conditions within their respective contexts. The participatory instruments of democratic political systems such as voting, demographic studies, and opinion surveys create information on the public and the parameters of social systems. The documents produced through such social engagement and information systems are presented with the visual language of data computation and integrated into a work of art.

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