The remaining four members of Documenta’s Finding Committee have resigned as of this evening, November 16, per a statement from the exhibition’s administration. The contemporary art event, which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany, has been embroiled in controversy for the last two years.
Simon Njami, Gong Yan, Kathrin Rhomberg, and María Inés Rodríguez announced their decision to step down in a public resignation letter. Tasked with selecting the artistic director for the 2027 edition of the exhibition, the team of six shrank earlier this week when Mumbai-based writer and curator Ranjit Hoskoté resigned after being criticized by the German media and the nation’s culture minister for “anti-semitic” sentiments over a petition signature from 2019. A few days prior, Israeli artist Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger also resigned, citing her inability to perform her tasks per “the situation in the Middle East.”
“The dynamics of the last few days, with their unchallenged media and public discrediting of our colleague Ranjit Hoskote, which forced him to resign from the Finding Committee, make us very doubtful if this prerequisite for any coming edition of Documenta is currently given in Germany,” wrote Njami, Yan, Rhomberg, and Rodríguez in their resignation statement.
“In the current circumstances we do not believe that there is a space in Germany for an open exchange of ideas and the development of complex and nuanced artistic approaches that documenta artists and curators deserve,” the four former committee members continued.
Documenta’s last iteration, which took place in 2022, was steeped in accusations of antisemitism aimed at the exhibition’s curators — Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa — as well as advisory board members and participating artists, which prompted Documenta’s former Managing Director Sabine Schormann to resign.