There is no rest in the anti-Semitism debate over Documenta Castle (June 18-September 25). After organizers of the international art fair canceled a three-part discussion series initially scheduled for Wednesday, Secretary of State for Culture Claudia Roth wants to strive for a new foundation of trust.
“I will now seek dialogue with all concerned again and, if necessary, bring them together in dialogue,” said the politician from the Green Party.
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Indeed, on May 8, 15 and 22, in three expert tours accessible online under the title “We Need to Talk! Art – Freedom – Solidarity” about the “fundamental right to artistic freedom in the face of rising racism, anti-Semitism and growing Islamophobia” “.
“The cancellation of the series of talks shows that there is a clear need for a new basis of trust here,” Roth said. “Anti-Semitism should have no place in our society, anywhere, not even in Documenta.”
However, the task of all state bodies is to protect artistic freedom and therefore the freedom of artists and their work, “which can lead to different interpretations and does not have to satisfy everyone equally.”
Last weekend, Klaus Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, criticized the formation of the forums in a fiery letter to Roth. The letter stated that the platform’s orientation was clearly biased in favor of anti-Semitism. Schuster also complained that the Central Council did not participate in the forums.
At the beginning of the year, Document Fifteen faced charges for calling the collective artist Ruangrupa, among other things, a Palestinian group whose members are said to work for an organization named after a Hitler loyalist in the 1930s. Groups that support the cultural boycott of Israel were also said to be involved in the document. Because of this criticism, the discussion series was decided upon.
The show from June should now speak for itself
It has now been decided to suspend the series of events, according to the document, which takes place every five years as the most important international art fair alongside the Venice Biennale. They want to start with the exhibition and let it speak for itself, so that the discussion can be appropriately pursued on that basis.
“At the moment, it seems difficult to achieve the goal that Documenta wanted to achieve through the series of talks, that is, to open a multi-view dialogue that goes beyond institutional frameworks in advance, according to the organizers.
It is important for Documenta not to let the thread of conversation break. Previous styles were to be developed further as a modified format on site in Kassel during the World Art Fair. “It also provides an opportunity to address concerns that have become public over the past few days.”
Looking back, Claudia Roth now said she took the allegations against Documenta seriously and sought talks with both those in charge of the gallery and the Central Council of Jews. You will now build on that. “We need an open and balanced international discussion of Documenta that reflects and includes different positions.” (dpa/teaspoon)