The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the Serpentine Gallery are to collaborate on an unusual venture early next year, presenting “visual dialogues between objects of the past and the present”. Conceptual artist Hans Haacke is to select works from the V&A, which will be shown 10 minutes’ walk away at the Serpentine. His selection is bound to be provocative, and he has a long track-record of embarrassing museums by highlighting their ties with the business establishment (in 1984 he made a portrait of Margaret Thatcher for the Tate Gallery which linked her to the Saatchis). Haacke has been offered “unparalleled” access to the V&A and has been studying its collection and history during the past year. He is likely to come up with some surprises, and he explains his task with an analogy: “As the ‘social secretary’ who puts together a guest list and a seating order, it is my job to see that the arrangement of unexpected encounters bears fruit.” The other half of the exchange comprises a group of up to 20 artists who will be presenting their work in various galleries within the V&A. For instance, American artist Ken Aptekar is to show 80 paintings with glass covers which have been sandblasted with transcribed texts, and these are to be displayed in the Henry Cole Wing. The Serpentine and V&A “exchange” shows are both due to take place from 30 January to 1 April 2001.