The Art Angle Podcast: How Documenta Became the World’s Most Controversial Art Show

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.

 

How much can an art show do?

That’s a question at the heart of Documenta, the sprawling exhibition that touches down in Kassel, Germany, every five years. Sometimes called a “museum in 100 days,” the show regularly draws millions of visitors from around the world. But it is far from a neutral celebration of contemporary art.

Founded in 1955, the show was conceived as a way to regenerate Kassel, which was still in ruins after World War II. But it had broader political aims, too: to project West Germany’s alliance with liberal values and help spread those values to nearby East Germany during the Cold War.

Since its inception, Documenta has melded art and politics more than almost any other exhibition in the world. So it’s not surprising that its history has been marked by controversy. From hidden Nazi ties to funding crises, the show has stirred up dispute after dispute. And this year is no different, as the show’s curators, the Indonesian art collective ruangrupa, face allegations of anti-Semitism due to the political affiliations of some of the artists included in the show.

When the 15th Documenta opens next week, it will present the work of more than 50 artists and collectives. Artnet News executive editor Julia Halperin sat down with Europe editor Kate Brown to explore this essential show’s turbulent history—and perhaps even more turbulent present.

 

 

Listen to other episodes:

The Art Angle Podcast: The Scandalous Rise and Fall of Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick

The Art Angle Podcast: How Artificial Intelligence Could Completely Transform Art

The Art Angle Podcast: Want to Wear a Basquiat? Inside the Big Business of Artist Merch

‘Our Role Is Really to Push Back From Rules’: Nari Ward on How To Make a True Portrait of New York City

The Secret Codes of World-Class Art Auctions, Demystified

Is the Venice Biennale Any Good? Here’s What Three Art Critics Think

‘The Artwork Would Almost Have to Double In Price’: Is Fractional Art Investing the Future of the Market, or a Scam?

‘Be Comfortable With Not Knowing Everything’: How a Mysterious Whitney Biennial Confronts Our Anxious Moment

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

The Art Angle Podcast: How Documenta Became the World’s Most Controversial Art Show

Next Post

21 Actors Who Came Out After Playing LGBTQ Characters

Dominique Provost-Chalkley came out after playing Waverly Earp on Wynonna Earp, and I’m still emotional about it. 1. First, after starring as Alex Danvers on Supergirl, Chyler Leigh publicly opened up about her sexuality in a heartfelt blog post. She talked about how playing Alex and showing her coming-out journey […]