The resignation of Documenta boss Sabine Schormann was necessary – but it doesn’t solve the problem. a comment.
Sabine Schormann’s resignation was necessary and consistent. The night meeting of the Documenta supervisory board finally brought clarity. A general manager who lacks the will and ability to resolve allegations as serious as anti-Semitism must go.
He had long denied knowledge and dialogue, ignoring determined and moderate outside voices such as Meron Mendel, the director of the Anne Frank training centre.
But the problem is not solved
However, the problem is not over with Schormann’s resignation. Not only was the most important world art exhibition in Germany seriously damaged, an important opportunity for international cultural understanding was also missed.
There was a lot of potential in the idea of making the perspectives of the Global South visible and opposing them to a Western one, interconnecting different historical awareness and cultural self-image. At best, a shared learning space could emerge from targeted artistic demands and confrontational debates.
Retreat to artistic freedom instead of leadership
But intercultural dialogue needs to be organized and framed. The supervisory bodies and the general manager have not made any provision for this. When the accusation of anti-Semitic depictions on the “People’s Justice” banner against the Taring Padi artist collective came to light, the responsibilities could no longer be taken back – here the general manager should have taken the lead. He retired to the position of artistic freedom. International understanding cannot work like this.
Documenta reacted to the scandal as follows:
Collective curation offers opportunities to increase the diversity of voices and perspectives, particularly in relation to the global political issues of the time. Until now, this opportunity has not been used sufficiently due to the lack of regular processes that we know from the political-democratic system. Responsibility should not be spread across the collective.
Roles and responsibilities should be clarified
Documenta still has almost two months to gain new trust. How roles and responsibilities in a collective can be clarified and linked to audit is at the beginning of restructuring.
This will be a valuable preparation for the global dialogue that we need to pursue more and more intensively.
Anne Reidt runs the main editorial office for culture at ZDF.
I am Timothy Glover, a professional journalist and content creator. I specialize in writing and editing for news websites, specifically covering politics. I have been working as an author at News Unrolled for the past five years and have built up a reputation for producing quality content that is both informative and engaging.