The executive vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC) has sharply criticized the curators of Germany’s documenta art exhibition for its reaction to allegations of anti-Semitism in the curation of this year’s show.
“The reaction of those responsible for documenta with regard to the statements and demands of the expert panel on anti-Semitism makes it clear once again that this documenta will go down in history as a documenta of cynicism,” Christoph Heubner said in a statement, adding that the show’s organizers had “kept the coffers ringing despite all the anti-Semitic gaffes.”
Heubner criticized the documenta organisers for “cynically including the public agitation and the pain of Jewish people in the face of these aberrations in their own success stories,” adding that the Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa – which curated documenta fifteen – had “misused the vast majority of artists for an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli staging.”
The show’s shareholders voted earlier on Tuesday to follow the recommendations of an expert panel to suspend the showing of a series of controversial pro-Palestinian films within the exhibit “at least until an appropriate contextualization has been carried out,” the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse jointly announced on Tuesday.
The expert panel, which was appointed by the shareholders, concluded that the films, which include strong anti-Israeli feeling, were propagandistic in nature and veered into the “glorification of terrorism.”
Both Ruangrupa and the documenta management rejected the panel’s demands on Monday.
Ruangrupa, who as documenta fifteen’s curators have the sole right to decide on the matter, have made it known that they do not plan to comply with the recommendation, according to a statement made by documenta to Berlin art magazine Monopol.
This year’s edition of documenta, a hugely influential exhibition of international contemporary art held in the German city of Kassel once every five years, has been overshadowed by accusations that the show includes art with clear anti-Semitic symbols and motifs. © dpa