Antisemitism accusations against documenta: A scandal about a rumor

Antisemitism accusations against documenta: A scandal about a rumor

e-flux Notes

May 8, 2022
Antisemitism accusations against documenta: A scandal about a rumor

This is a letter from ruangrupa, the artistic team of documenta fifteen, and the curators of the recently canceled forum We need to Talk! Art — Freedom — Solidarity reflecting an ongoing debate in Germany around the upcoming edition of documenta. –e-flux

It is with great regret that we announce that the discussion forum “We need to talk”, which was set up in response to accusations of antisemitism directed at participants in documenta fifteen, has been suspended. After intensive discussions with the forum participants, it became clear that the accusations made against documenta fifteen and the forum itself currently render a free and productive discussion impossible. Following criticism by Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, over the makeup of the forum, some of the participants withdrew, or considered withdrawing, just a few days before the forum’s intended opening. The forum intended to confront and problematize the accusations in their full breadth moving beyond entrenched institutional positions. The accusations were to be the subject of discussion, not the basis for it. documenta fifteen has now decided to await the official opening of the exhibition in order to meet the need for discussion as it arises, on the basis of the works shown and statements made at the exhibit.

To be clear: no antisemitic statements of any kind have been made in the context of documenta fifteen. We strongly reject these accusations and refuse to accept bad-faith attempts to delegitimize artists and preventively censor them on the basis of their ethnic heritage and presumed political positions. [1] It was also never planned to hold events featuring the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement at documenta fifteen…


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