Birgit Jooss takes over documenta Archiv

Birgit Jooss has just been appointed director of Documenta Archiv for 20th and 21st century art in Kassel. Gathering the archives of documenta’s five-yearly exhibitions since the event was set up in 1955, documenta Archiv was founded by Arnold Bode in 1961. More than 100,000 volumes, 5,000 films, videos and sound recordings and some 60,000 photos make up a total of 1.4 million archives retracing documenta’s thirteen editions, with a database aimed at serving documenta Institut in collaboration with the University of Kassel. The Institut will enable the city of Kassel to become a key place for art research, including research on periods outside of documenta exhibition periods. Birgit Jooss was director of the Deutsches Kunstarchiv at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg from 2007 to 2015. At documenta Archiv, she is replacing Gerd Mörsch who held the position from 2013 to 2015. The next documenta, documenta 14, will be taking place next year in Kassel and Athens, curated by Adam...

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Two Pieces for the documenta in Kassel Vandalized

The Documenta in Kassel, which this year celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, has seen two of its works vandalized. The first in a city park, the second near the station. The works which have been the subject of malicious acts are the creations of artists Jimmie Durham and Heini Gut. Durham had an rare variety apple tree planted in 2011 in Kassel Park; it was a cutting from a tree cultivated by a Dachau prisoner during the Second World War. A gardener of the city found the work uprooted and branches broken. It will be replaced in the fall by the same tree. For the moment, the investigation does not say if it is an act of vandalism in relation to the artistic event; it nevertheless seems that the possibility of an anti-Semitic act was excluded. The second vandalized work is a sculpture made of wood and steel by Swiss artist Heini Gut: it has been twisted and one of its letters was sawed. Achim Schnyder, project manager of the documenta, said the installation would not be repaired. Created in 1955 by Arnold Bode, Documenta is a modern and contemporary art exhibition held every five years in Kassel. Bode’s ambition was to reconcile Germans with an art considered “degenerate” during the Nazi...

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Exhibition of the Gurlitt collection at documenta 14: a project by Adam Szymczyk

The director of documenta 14, Adam Szymczyk, is currently in negotiations with the director of Bern’s Kunstmuseum, Matthias Frehner, to realise the project that he has been thinking about since his nomination in 2013: exhibiting the Gurlitt collection during the first edition of documenta, in 2017. His meeting with Matthias Frehner turned out to be “very constructive”, but Adam Szymczyk explained that his idea “did not awaken the same interest” in the museum’s administrative committee. The German minister of culture, Monika Grütters, was also contacted by the director of documenta and posed these conditions: the works from the Gurlitt collection can only be exhibited “with the aim of informing the public about the persecution of their first owners” and so that their successors can reclaim that which legally belongs to them. Adam Szymczyk himself said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung that this was exactly what he hoped for. “Doing an exclusive or spectacular presentation of these works doesn’t interest me, but I would like to present all of Gurlitt’s legacy within the political and aesthetic context of documenta 14. This exhibition will offer a unique public display of these works,” he...

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Anger at Documenta’s move to Athens

News that the 14th edition of Germany’s contemporary art exhibition Documenta will open in Greece instead of Kassel, in Germany, has been met with anger. It was announced earlier this month that for its 14th edition in 2017, a significant part of the quinquennial will take part in Athens with Kassel, its original location, hosting the rest. Whilst the dual-city edition will likely present some challenges, the exhibition’s last edition saw projects taking place in Banff, Kabul, and Cairo; albeit on a smaller scale than that which is planned for Athens. This plan has caused discontent among German locals, who are concerned about the potential damage the move could cause to the town’s economy and its standing as a cultural centre. The Athens portion of the exhibition will open in April, with the Kassel part taking place between the 2017 Venice Biennale and Art Basel; if international visitors choose not to stop over for the German portion of Documenta, it could cause a significant dent in the profits of local businesses normally frequented by visitors to the exhibition — such as hotels and restaurants The local head of the CDU party told local paper HNA: “We shouldn’t be letting Athens take our Documenta away from us.” He also objected to the town having to pay €300,000 of the €3.5 million budget, which will go towards Documenta taking place...

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Managing Director of dOCUMENTA resigns

Kassel (Germany), 27 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). According to Artnet, Bernd Leifeld, Managing Director of dOCUMENTA, is to leave his post on 1 April. Annette Kulenkampff, Director of Publications at Hatje Cantz is to take is place from 1 June. After having successfully led four editions of the fair, Bernd Leifeld’s decision to leave the post is entirely of his own volition. The next edition of the event, dOCUMENTA 14, is to take place in 2017 under the artist direction of Adam Szymczyk. Leifeld’s work with the fair saw a marked increase in its international visibility, as well as an unbroken rise in attendance figures — which, together, contributed to a rise in funding for more ambitious aspects of the project, including the decision to elect curators for each edition....

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