Hesse: Minister: Expert committee for documenta

Will the decisive course for dealing with the anti-Semitism scandal at the documenta be set soon? Hesse's Minister of Art, Angela Dorn, is vehemently pushing for changes.

Hesse: Minister: Expert committee for documenta

Will the decisive course for dealing with the anti-Semitism scandal at the documenta be set soon? Hesse's Minister of Art, Angela Dorn, is vehemently pushing for changes.

Wiesbaden (dpa/lhe) - Hesse's Minister of Art Angela Dorn (Greens) has again called for structural changes to the art show because of the anti-Semitism scandal at documenta fifteen. She thinks a panel of experts is urgently needed, said the minister on Thursday in the Hessian state parliament in Wiesbaden. "We need a structure that can give us recommendations for the current documenta, but also for the future."

Six months before documenta fifteen began in Kassel, allegations of anti-Semitism against the Indonesian curatorial collective Ruangrupa had been raised. Shortly after the opening of the show, which is considered the most important exhibition for contemporary art alongside the Venice Biennale, a work with anti-Semitic imagery was discovered. The "People's Justice" banner by Indonesian art collective Taring Padi was then taken down.

The structure of the artistic management with a collective was courageous and new, said the minister. "But apparently it also meant that the diligence and responsibility of curating suffered." That is why she is promoting the fact that the supervisory board should make a new attempt to change its structures, the minister explained.

Dorn reported that the state had already requested an extraordinary meeting of the supervisory board for this Friday last week. "We have come to a point where we all have to recognize that some crisis management processes are not going well." It is therefore essential that the supervisory board also deals with responsibilities and the processing of errors.

A joint, honest analysis of how the events could have happened is required. The state of Hesse and the city of Kassel, as shareholders of the documenta, would have to pull together in order to achieve an improvement in overcoming the crisis that has arisen.

With regard to the clarification of the scandal, Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) casts doubt on the competence of documenta Director General Sabine Schormann. A spokesman for Roth said in Berlin that there was still no explanation as to how the anti-Semitic work of art could be set up. The same applies to the need to draw conclusions. "It is increasingly questionable whether the documenta general director can or wants to do that." Schormann had defended the handling of the Weltkunstschau with the allegations of anti-Semitism a few days ago.

In a statement published on Tuesday evening, the general director emphasized the freedom of artistic direction and reported on the concerns of the Indonesian collective Ruangrupa that they would not be welcome in Germany. Since the first allegations became known in January, there have been many discussions: with the curators and artists, external experts, the supervisory board, the Central Council of Jews in Germany and Minister of State for Culture Roth. Even then, curators and artists "feared censorship and therefore rejected an external panel of experts," she wrote.

Schormann's statements about the processes in the past few months are "not applicable," said Claudia Roth's spokesman. "The Minister of State for Culture was very surprised and alienated by Ms. Schormann's statement."

The Hessian FDP parliamentary group called for the documenta general director to be dismissed. "The general director is responsible for the catastrophic handling of the scandal. She simply failed," said the cultural policy spokesman for the Liberals, Stefan Naas, in Parliament in Wiesbaden. That is why she cannot be commissioned to deal with the events.

The FDP politician accused Minister of Art Dorn of being partly responsible for the anti-Semitism scandal at the documenta. Dorn looked the other way when the first indications of anti-Semitism emerged. Now a ruthless clarification of the events at the world art show in Kassel is necessary.

The leader of the left-wing faction, Elisabeth Kula, also called for the fastest possible and comprehensive clarification. The shifting of blame back and forth between political levels further damages the art exhibition.

The AfD parliamentary group spoke out in favor of a parliamentary committee of inquiry to clarify the processes.