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Birgit Jooss Will Head the Documenta Archive




From the Department of Cool Jobs comes news that Birgit Jooss has been named the director of the Documenta Archiv of the Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries in Kassel.

The Archiv—or archive, if you prefer—contains a voluminous amount of material relating to the quinquennial Documenta exhibition, which has been staged since 1955 in the German city, with occasional satellite displays elsewhere. Just how epic is this archive? Here’s a bit from the official news release:

The [D]ocumenta Archiv was founded by Arnold Bode in 1961 and now encompasses a library containing more than 100,000 volumes, roughly 5,000 film, video, and audio recordings, 60,000 photos, and 1.4 million archival items relating to [D]ocumenta exhibitions 1 through 13.

Yes, 1.4 million archival items. That is mayhem, averaging out to almost 108,000 items for each Documenta! Though I am going to go out on a limb and guess that Documenta 13’s director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, did more than her fair share in adding to the total number. (Her show stretched to Kabul, Afghanistan; Alexandria, Egypt; and Banff, Canada.)

Jooss has been working as an independent art worker, teaching, writing, and so forth, since early this year. Before that, she was director of the Deutsches Kunstarchiv at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg from 2007 to 2015. At the Documenta archive, she’s taking the place of Gerd Mörsch, who reigned from 2013 through 2015.

What is in the works for the archive? More from the release:

According to current plans, the [D]ocumenta Archiv will serve as the basis for the non-university [D]ocumenta Institut to be established in collaboration with the University of Kassel. The institute is expected to enhance the image of Kassel as a significant center for art and art research even during the years between [D]ocumenta exhibitions.

Getting people to visit Kassel when Documenta is not on is, indeed, a little tricky. (There’s not a ton to do in town.)

Documenta 13 feels like it occurred only yesterday, but as it happens, Documenta 14 is scheduled to drop next year, in Kassel and Athens. Curator Adam Szymczyk is at the helm.

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