German Documenta Art Show Director Resigns Amid Outrage Over Anti-Semitic Work

The director-general of the world-famous German art show Documenta resigned from her post on July 16 amid outrage over an anti-Semitic artwork.

The supervisory board of Documenta announced  that an agreement had been reached to “terminate [the] management contract” of Director-General Sabine Schormann “at short notice.”

The supervisory board said that it will appoint an interim director, but it did not provide a timeline.

The supervisory board expressed its “deep dismay” at the “clearly anti-Semitic motifs” at the opening of the 15th edition of the contemporary art show in June in the city of Kassel.

The artwork condemned as anti-Semitic was a mural by Indonesian art group Taring Padi called “People’s Justice,” which showed a military figure with a pig’s head wearing a Star of David neckerchief and a helmet with the word “Mossad,” the name of Israel’s security service.

The mural also showed a man with sidelocks, often associated with Orthodox Jews, fangs, bloodshot eyes, and a black hat labeled “SS.”

The mural “clearly crossed a line and thereby caused considerable harm to Documenta,” the supervisory board said.

German Culture Minister Claudia Roth welcomed Schormann’s resignation.

“It is right and necessary that we can now work through how anti-Semitic imagery could have been exhibited and draw the necessary consequences for the art exhibition,” Roth said, as quoted by the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.

Documenta, one of the world’s top showcases for modern art, like the Venice Biennale, runs until Sept. 25.


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