Art show: Volker Beck criticizes documenta again

In the dispute over works of art criticized as anti-Semitic, the views of the President of the German-Israeli Society (DIG), Volker Beck, and those responsible for the documenta continue to be irreconcilable.

Art show: Volker Beck criticizes documenta again

In the dispute over works of art criticized as anti-Semitic, the views of the President of the German-Israeli Society (DIG), Volker Beck, and those responsible for the documenta continue to be irreconcilable.

After visiting the art exhibition in Kassel, Beck renewed his criticism: "The documenta fifteen is really an epochal change in the history of German post-war anti-Semitism," he said. So far, one has reacted to anti-Semitism scandals by distancing oneself from them and anti-Semitism has been socially outlawed. "But that doesn't happen here."

The documenta had previously stated that some of the criticized depictions were not aimed at Jews as individuals or as a community, but criticized the Israeli army. In addition, the pictures were provided with a classification.

Anti-Semitism allegations against documenta

Anti-Semitism allegations against the documenta have been circulating for months. Shortly after the opening of the exhibition, a banner with anti-Jewish motifs was discovered and taken down.

Beck had already massively criticized the events and explained: "After this documenta one has to say: anti-Semitism has a place in Kassel, anti-Semitism has a place at this documenta." The DIG President spoke again in favor of moving the art show away from Kassel. That could be a sign of a new beginning.

During his visit, he emphasized to Beck that there are interesting exhibits in the exhibition, but also "unresolved problems". These works would either have to be removed or classified critically. This applies, for example, to the showing of archive material and films from the Japanese Red Army Faction (RAF), which downplays and glorifies anti-Semitic terror.

The documenta failed in itself because it "did not react appropriately to the problems that can arise," said the Green politician. Beck sees responsibility for this with Kassel's Mayor Christian Geselle (SPD) and Hesse's Minister of Art Angela Dorn (Greens), "because they didn't make sure that something happened here on the Supervisory Board". In his opinion, both should be withdrawn from the committee, "there belong people who can bear social responsibility".

classification of the collective

Since Tuesday, the depictions criticized for being anti-Semitic have been accompanied by a classification of the exhibiting collective in a brochure exhibited at documenta fifteen. In it, the collective "Archives des luttes des femmes en Algérie" ("Archives of women's struggles in Algeria") firmly rejects the allegations made.

"We regret that these images have met with a lack of understanding and have been the subject of misinterpretation by the media and visitors, who believe they contain anti-Semitic depictions," writes the collective. The drawings contained in the brochure "Presence des Femmes" show, among other things, soldiers with Star of David on their helmets as robots with bared teeth. Beck, on the other hand, stated that he considered the contextualization to be a complete failure.

Meanwhile, the documenta announced that monitors would be set up at a central point of the show on Tuesday evening, on which an explanation of how to deal with the criticism would be read in English and German.

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