Resignations Roil Documenta Show as War in Gaza Polarizes Art World

Documenta, the German contemporary art exhibition considered one of the most prestigious in the world, fell into crisis this week after the entire team tasked with finding its next artistic director resigned after a series of disputes with administrators related to the Israel-Hamas War.

The break up of the committee meant the start date for Documenta’s next edition may have to be pushed back later than 2027, when it was scheduled to open in Kassel, Germany, a Documenta spokeswoman said in an email.

The last four members of the search committee stepped down Thursday, just days after its other two members had resigned, all for reasons related to the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza and the debate surrounding it in Germany.

The four who resigned on Thursday night — Simon Njami, Gong Yan, Kathrin Rhomberg and María Inés Rodríguez, who are museum directors and curators — said in an open letter that they were stepping aside in part because the political climate in Germany around the war in Israel and Gaza meant it now appeared impossible to stage an art show that allows “diverse perspectives, perceptions and discourses.”

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