Edited by Wendy Jacob, Laurie Palmer, and John Ploof
Chicago: WhiteWalls. 2008
Dimensions: 7.5 in x 9.5 in
Cover: paper back, fold out
Binding: perfect bound
Color: color covr, 120 color plates, 27 halftones
Edition Size: unknown
This book marks the end of 20 years of the collaborative art group Haha. Haha was very important in Chicago, and beyond, for developing an art practice that pushed at many boundaries of what could be considered art, how it is made, and who has access to it. Their most influential project, FLOOD, done during the watershed exhibition in Chicago, Culture in Action (1993), had a profound impact on a younger generation of artists. Haha set up a storefront hydroponic garden to raise bacteria-free greens for people living with AIDS/HIV. The storefront also functioned as a meeting and organizing hub, utilized by many different organizations, complete with educational gardens in front and in back of the space. FLOOD lasted well beyond the time frame of the exhibition. It became a touch stone for those wanting to provide art as a service to others, or make socially engaged work beyond the confines of the art gallery/museum sytem.
Haha started at a time when collective practice was redefining itself in the U.S. They had no models to look at and worked through their ideas and collaboration as they went. This took many interesting aesthetic twists and turns over the years.
This book isn't a catalog of Haha's work, though it does contain a selection of images of things they have realized. They wanted to create something more productive and asked several people to reflect on the impact Haha had. There essays by Doug Ashford, Brett Bloom, Margaret Crawford, David Deitcher, Franco LaCecla, and Dan S. Wang.
We are sad to see the end of Haha, but we know that Laurie, John and Wendy, will continue to make great work in many new and challenging collaborations and configurations. We wish them luck and thank them for their courageous efforts!