While the documenta develops into a public success, the anti-Semitism scandal continues to occupy those responsible. After the Bundestag debate, everyone looks back to Kassel.
After the failure of two motions in the Bundestag, the attention to the processing of the anti-Semitism scandal at the beginning of the documenta is initially directed back to Kassel. A meeting of the supervisory board of the documenta society is expected in the northern Hessian city.
With a motion for a resolution, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag called for a “complete clarification” of the background. “We don’t want something like this to happen again,” said CDU MP Gitta Connemann in parliament on Thursday.
The Union relied on “transparent and consistent answers” to the scandal. An independent investigative commission should be set up, “which will identify bad planning, bad processes and wrong decisions and name personal responsibilities”. The anti-Semitism commissioner should present a report assessing the scope and consequences of the scandal. Planning for the next documenta in five years should be postponed until the scandal has been worked up and appropriate measures have been taken.
The Union application was rejected by the government majority of SPD, Greens and FDP as well as the left. An application by the AfD, whose MP Marc Jongen spoke of an “incomprehensible scandal” at the documenta, also fell through.
There is unity here
The deputies were largely unanimous in condemning the portrayals. At the most important exhibition for contemporary art after the Venice Biennale, a work with anti-Semitic imagery was discovered after the opening in mid-June. The banner “People’s Justice” by the Indonesian art collective Taring Padi was then taken down. Even before the opening, there had been largely unproven allegations of anti-Semitism against the curating collective Ruangrupa, which also comes from Indonesia. Both collectives have since apologized several times.
From the point of view of the CSU MP Dorothee Bär, the scandal damaged the reputation of the documenta. She called for personal consequences, especially in Kassel. Helge Lindh (SPD) pointed out that anti-Semitism is not about sensitivities, but about facts, facts and history that show that anti-Semitism kills. Erhard Grundl (Greens) described anti-Semitism as an attack on human dignity that will never be tolerated.
The left MP Petra Sitte (left) missed a functioning curation at the documenta. According to Anikó Merten (FDP), after a “scandal with announcement”, nobody takes responsibility “for the control disaster”. The processing is already in full swing.
Like other MPs, she referred to plans by Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth. The Greens had demanded changes in the structure of the documenta. Basically, Berlin wants more influence, otherwise there should be no more money. The withdrawal of the federal government from the supervisory board in 2018 while sticking to federal funding is now rated by Roth as a “serious mistake”.
The chairman of the documenta supervisory board, Kassel’s mayor Christian Geselle (SPD), rejects the federal government’s plans. The Hessian arts minister Angela Dorn (Greens), representing the state as Vice President of the Supervisory Board, supports Roth’s position. Dorn has also requested a special meeting of the board of directors.