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Thursday, September 29, 2022

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    The documenta has surpassed “wildest nightmares”.

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    The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, made serious accusations against leading politicians because of the anti-Semitic works of art on “documenta fifteen”.

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    Contrary to an assurance from Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) in a conversation in May, clearly anti-Semitic pictures appeared at the Kassel art exhibition. Roth admitted: “Perhaps I should have been louder and clearer in the discussions leading up to the documenta opening.”

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    Central Council President Schuster told the “RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland” (Thursday) that the anti-Semitism at the art exhibition had “exceeded his wildest nightmares”. Perhaps Roth was “too naïve” and “was betrayed”.

    However, the Hessian Art Minister Angela Dorn (Greens) and Kassel’s Lord Mayor Christian Geselle (SPD) initially either “dismissed” the warnings or “understood nothing at all” and thus “ultimately did the city a disservice”.

    Roth told the magazine “Stern”: “The exhibition of such clearly anti-Semitic works should not have happened.” The clarification of how this could have happened is still pending. Even if she doesn’t bear any direct responsibility, she is aware “that it’s not enough if I say: I couldn’t do more.”

    This year’s documenta has been overshadowed by accusations of anti-Semitism since the preparatory phase. Shortly after the exhibition opened in mid-June, the “People’s Justice” banner by the Indonesian artist collective Taring Padi was taken down because of anti-Semitic motifs.

    Later, drawings by the Syrian artist Burhan Karkoutly with anti-Semitic imagery became known. The general director of the art show, Sabine Schormann, was recalled and a council of experts was appointed.

    The Central Council already warned in the spring

    Schuster said: “We already expressed our concern in the spring with regard to the artist collective Ruangrupa, which curates the documenta, that there could be Israel-related anti-Semitism.”

    What frightens and shakes him the most is that pictures are now being exhibited again on the grounds that they are not legally contestable. “Because nobody said that this anti-Semitism is criminally relevant. But anti-Semitism starts well below this limit,” said the President of the Central Council.

    Roth rejected the argument that the works should be viewed from the cultural context of the respective artists.

    “That anti-Semitism in Indonesia is something different than here in Germany. That’s really nonsense,” said the Green politician, adding: “Anti-Semitism is and will remain anti-Semitism, whether in Indonesia, in Turkey or anywhere else.” (epd)

    Source: Tagesspiegel

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