German documenta partners demand removal of films for anti-Semitism

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Subversive Film, Tokyo Reels Film Festival / TRFF, Opening Night, Screening und Q&A, Gloria Kino, Kassel, 16. Juni 2022, Foto: Nils Klinger (Via documenta)

Two partners of the German documenta art show called for pro-Palestinian propaganda films that have been slammed as anti-Semitic to be removed from the exhibition on Tuesday.

“The partners agree with the recommendation of experts not to continue showing the ‘Tokyo Reels’ of the Subversive Film collective, at least until they have been appropriately contextualized,” said the statement by the city of Kassel and the state of Hessen, both backers of the exhibition. 

An expert panel appointed by the partners to deal with the accusations of anti-Semitism that are facing the international art show demanded on Monday that the films, which include strong anti-Israeli feeling and veer into the “glorification of terrorism,” no longer be shown. 

The partners’ statement concurred, adding that the films should only be shown again once “they have been contextualized in a way that reveals their nature as propaganda, directly calls out their anti-Semitic elements, and corrects historical inaccuracies.”

The leadership of the documenta and the Indonesian collective Ruangrupa, which is curating this year’s documenta, rejected the demands on Monday.

This year’s edition of documenta, an expansive international art exhibition staged in Kassel only once every five years, has been dogged by allegations of including anti-Semitic art. Since the exhibition opened in June, several works slammed as anti-Semitic have caused controversy. © dpa

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