Mendel accuses documenta curators of authoritarian behavior free press

After allegations of anti-Semitism at documenta fifteen in Kassel, the head of the Anne Frank educational institution reproaches the curators. He was not able to identify any openness or willingness to learn.


The head of the Anne Frank educational institution, Meron Mendel, has criticized the curators of documenta fifteen in Kassel, which was overshadowed by allegations of anti-Semitism, as authoritarian.

The Indonesian collective Ruangrupa had not lived up to its own standards, Mendel said in the “Frankfurter Rundschau”. “Although they said that everything was lumbung and that everyone was allowed to have a say, that they were here to learn, their behavior was quite authoritarian, including when dealing with the panel of experts.”

Downplaying scientific criticism as misinterpretation or even presenting it as racism is not effective. “I didn’t see any openness or willingness to learn in the curatorial collective,” said Mendel. “It would have been important to allow different readings to apply side by side.”

There was never really room for discussion, Mendel summed up shortly before the end of the exhibition this Sunday. Each camp has become bogged down in its positions: “One side sees anti-Semitism everywhere, makes undifferentiated allegations to the end and is not afraid to defame the entire documenta as an anti-Semitic event,” said Mendel. “And the other side only sees a witch hunt and racism everywhere – and only recognizes anti-Semitism when it comes from the right-wing corner.”

Among the victims were artists from countries such as Namibia, Kenya and Cuba, who initially had nothing to do with this conflict.

Mendel worked as a consultant for the documenta after a work with anti-Semitic imagery was dismantled there, but later withdrew. The reason was that “it seemed nobody was responsible for anything,” Mendel said. “That has to be clarified for the upcoming documenta.” (dpa)


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