With just over six months left until its opening, Documenta has come under scrutiny for its alleged links to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks to push the Israeli government toward granting full equality to Palestinian citizens.
The Alliance Against Anti-Semitism in Kassel, a group based in the German city where the five-year anniversary is being held, has accused Documenta of “involving anti-Israel activists” in its upcoming edition. She pointed to the inclusion of the Ramallah-based Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center within the technical team headed by the Indonesian group, Ruangrupa, as alleged evidence of this. The coalition released a press release containing multiple errors earlier this month.
According to its website, the KSCC supports Palestinian artists with the goal of creating “a pluralistic and critical editorial culture through research, inquiry, and engagement, which provides an open space for the community to produce vibrant and liberating cultural content.” Khalil Sakakini, the Palestinian thinker and philosopher from whom the center takes its name, kept a rich library now located in the center.
Despite the factual inaccuracies presented by the Alliance Against Anti-Semitism Kassel, the group’s launch gained traction with several German outlets, including currentlyRecording sheet. this week, currently He published an article by columnist Thomas E. Schmidt that prompted him to ask: “Does Documenta have a problem with anti-Semitism?”
Some have pushed back against Schmidt’s pillar. Elke Bohr, editor-in-chief of German art magazine, called this article “poorly researched.” monopoly, he wrote, “One can criticize ‘Documenta Fifteen’ in many ways. But one thing is clear: it makes no sense to drag this exhibition project into the depths of the district’s domestic debate, which has long assumed the character of a culture war against the ‘Hui Left’.” This is on every international exhibition project: once you invite artists with connections to the Arab world or the global south, you will meet people who have a different attitude towards BDS than the official guidelines of German policy.”
Allegations made by the Coalition Against Anti-Semitism in Kassel revolve around two artists, Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili, participating in Documenta 15 as part of a crowdfunding affair, which “aims to rethink the finance economy and the culture it produces in Palestine,” according to a biography on the website. Five-Year Web. Both Khalidi and al-Khalili previously served in leadership positions in the joint Kuwait City, although Khalidi is no longer affiliated with the center, and Khalili remains only a member of a “general assembly” there. The Coalition Against Anti-Semitism has falsely accused Cassel’s Documenta of trying to conceal his ties to Couscous by participating in the financing issue. The Artists Group and KSCC are not related entities, the group is on Documenta’s Artist List while KSCC is on the 15th Edition Art Team.
In a press release issued earlier this month, the Coalition Against Anti-Semitism Castle claimed that the funding issue and KSCC, as well as two members of the Documenta advisory board, curator Charles Eich and artist Amar Kanwar, support the boycott movement. BDS is not mentioned anywhere in the bios for the issue of funding and the KSCC. Esche signed a 2020 open letter to German artists about BDS, and in 2011 Kanwar was one of five artists to withdraw from an exhibition of Indian art at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in solidarity with BDS.
Amid the controversy, Documenta itself posted a short statement on its website on Wednesday. The Five-Year Conference wrote that “the Fifteenth Document does not in any way support anti-Semitism.” “It takes the position of freedom of art and science, and supports efforts to resolutely address anti-Semitism, racism, right-wing extremism, violent religious fundamentalism and any kind of discrimination. Constitutiona Five will deal extensively with criticism.”
The BDS movement has been controversial around the world, although its views are considered particularly controversial in Germany, whose parliament deemed the movement illegal in 2019. Artists in Europe have periodically become the subject of a hand-to-hand dispute over the BDS movement. In 2019, the German city of Aachen withdrew the award for artist Walid Raad due to his alleged involvement with the boycott movement. After that, a museum there defied the city’s orders and ordered the prize anyway. In 2020, artist Zineb Sedira, who is representing France at this year’s Venice Biennale, also faced controversy from right-wing outlets over alleged links to the BDS movement. She denied any connection with the group.
This is the second controversy that Documenta 15 has faced in the past month. Sakuliu Pavavaljung, a Peiwan artist who is expected to participate in the upcoming edition, has been accused of sexual assault by several women. The artist, who denied the allegations, was dropped from the position of Taiwan representative at the Venice Biennale, and was suspended “initially” from Documenta, which has not yet definitively determined whether he will continue to participate.
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