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documenta: Former mayors warn of increasing bureaucracy |

The discussion about the documenta in Kassel continues. After the supervisory board decided on changes to the world art show this week, criticism is now coming from three former mayors of Kassel. They fear that all creativity will be stifled.

Criticism continues to arise following the decisions of the documenta supervisory board regarding changes to the art show. The former SPD mayors of Kassel, Hans Eichel, Bertram Hilgen and Wolfram Bremeier, warned in a statement on Thursday against increasing bureaucratization of documenta gGmbH. It goes on to say that there is a danger that all creativity will be stifled.

The supervisory board met on Tuesday and adopted some recommendations from a management consultancy after the anti-Semitism scandal at documenta 2022. Among other things, it was decided to set up a scientific advisory board consisting of six people and to include the chairperson on the supervisory board as an advisory member without voting rights.

No code of conduct for artistic direction

One Code of Conduct the next artistic director will not have to commit to it. Only management should create one and commit to it.

To this end, the new artistic direction should present its artistic concept at a public event at an early stage and explain “what understanding it has of respecting human dignity and how its preservation should be ensured in the exhibition it is curating,” as a spokeswoman for documenta and Museum Fridericianum gGmbH explained last Tuesday evening.

Overall, the management consultancy’s recommendations had some “poison teeth” pulled out, wrote Eichel, Hilgen and Bremeier. However, significant concerns remained. “Fear of risk is not a good guide.”

By rejecting any attempts at influence, the supervisory board could have sent a positive signal for artistic freedom and signaled to the international art world that free curation was still possible in Germany. “An art exhibition is not a commercial operation, even if it has to follow economic rules,” the ex-OBs continued.

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