At Large  July 3, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

A New Selection Committee is Announced For Documenta 2027

Wikimedia Commons

Documenta, Fridericianum Exterior. License

Despite a series of scandals that left the public unsure of its continuance, German mega-exhibition Documenta has just announced the new selection committee in charge of finding their next artistic director. Taking place every five years in Kassel, Germany, Documenta had an original committee for the 2027 show that resigned en masse after serious allegations of anti-semitism. 

The new six-person group includes Yilmaz Dziewior, Sergio Edelsztein, N’Goné Fall, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Mami Kataoka, and Yasmil Raymond, all notable curators in their own right. However, it comes as a bit of a surprise to find three of the six members are locally based in Germany, while the previous committee had none. 

Wikimedia Commons, David Gómez Fontanills

Documenta 12, Kassel, 2007. License

Dziewior is the director of Ludwig Museum in Cologne and was appointed by Heiko Maas to curate the official German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022. He is an art historian with interests in the intersection of theoretical analysis and an experimental approach to curation.

The other German native, Yasmil Raymond, is the head of Städelschule— a small art school in Frankfurt— and the director of the contemporary art hall, Portikus. The third German-based curator is Argentinian-born Israeli Sergio Edelsztein. 

Edelsztein, who lives between Berlin and Tel Aviv, founded the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv in 1998 and continues to operate as director and chief curator of the museum. He is also a veteran curator of the Venice Biennale, having organized Israel’s Pavilion in 2005.

N’Goné Fall is a Senegalese architect who was the long-time editorial director of the African art journal Revue Noire. In 2018, she was appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron as the General Commissioner of the Africa 2020 Season— a series of cultural, scientific, and pedagogical projects held all over France between 2020 and 2021. 

Wikimedia Commons, Gerd Eichmann

Labyrinth, Documenta 9, Kassel, 1992. License

Thai curator Gridthiya Gaweewong has been heralded as "one of the most prominent curators working out of Southeast Asia today." Gaweewong is the artistic director of the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, while Mami Kataoka is a curator and writer who has worked as director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo since 2019.

The six new members of the selection committee are replacing the original group who cut ties with the exhibition in November of 2023. Following accusations of blatant anti-semitism in the 2022 iteration of the show, Israeli artist Bracha L. Ettinger initially left after the Hamas attack on October 7th.

Wikimedia Commons, Christos Vittoratos

Publications made for Documenta 13. License

Shortly after, Indian poet Ranjit Hoskote resigned in lieu of a controversy with the German press. The remaining four curators— Simon Njami, Gong Yan, Kathrin Rhomberg, and María Inés Rodríguez— then wrote an open letter describing the organization’s lack of “an open exchange of ideas and the development of complex and nuanced artistic approaches that Documenta artists and curators deserve,” before departing in solidarity. 

Documenta has been a well-loved exhibition of contemporary art since it first began in 1955. Created by artist and teacher Arnold Bode, his vision of an expansive exhibition stemmed from the wish to dispel a cultural darkness which weighed on Germany by showcasing influential modern art

The first Documenta featured artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky, while more recent editions have continued to push the limits of avant-garde and site-specific installations of artists from around the world during its 100-day runtime.

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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