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Director of Art Exhibition “Documenta” Resigns



By: Anya Li


Sabine Schormann, the director general of the art exhibition Documenta, resigned on Saturday only 28 days into the exhibition’s 100-day run. Documenta is widely considered one of the art world’s most important events, and this year’s edition is organized by ruangrupa, an Indonesian art collective, and it involves over 1,000 artists hosting exhibitions and events.


The renowned contemporary art exhibition is held every five years in Kassel, Germany. The situation began after artwork containing antisemitic imagery was installed, covered up, and then removed from the exhibition. The hanging of the artwork, a piece that contained a Jewish caricature, has led to a loss of trust in the event, Documenta’s board said in a statement announcing Schormann’s departure.


The board “considers it essential that everything is done to regain that trust,” the statement added, also saying it will call in a group of experts on art, antisemitism, and post-colonialism to determine what went wrong and decide if there are any other antisemitic images in the show.


At least one Documenta artist has publicly admitted a loss of trust in the event. On July 8, Hito Steyerl, one of the most prominent artists in the exhibition, pulled her work, saying in an email to Documenta that she had “no confidence” in the organization’s ability to deal with what is happening. Steyerl said in a telephone interview before Schormann’s resignation that the controversy had stopped people from paying attention to the art.


“The art is not even secondary, no one talks about it right now,” Steyerl said. “So many people worked for so much time on this,” she added, “and by not addressing the accusations of antisemitism, both warranted and unwarranted, in a decisive and transparent manner, Documenta has let this debate eclipse everything else.”


Documenta said in a statement on Saturday that it would appoint an interim director general to replace Schormann.



Link to article: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/16/arts/design/documenta-resignation.html

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