Documenta 15

‘We Are Right on Schedule’: Selection Committee for Documenta 15 Artistic Director Named

One curator will be named ruler of Kassel.


Curators, start prepping your proposals! Everyone else, start placing your bets! Documenta, the closely watched quinquennial based in Kassel, Germany, said in an email today that it has formed a committee to find the artistic director for its 15th edition, which is set to run from June 18 through September 25 in 2022.

The finding committee—as the group is termed—is eight members strong, and they are as follows:

  • Ute Meta Bauer, founder and director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore
  • Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  • Amar Kanwar, artist, New Delhi
  • Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern in London
  • Gabi Ngcobo, curator of the 2018 Berlin Biennale, South Africa
  • Elvira Dyangani Ose, curator, Creative Time, New York, and soon to be director of the Showroom in London, in September 2018
  • Philippe Pirotte, director of the Staatl. Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt
  • Jochen Volz, director of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo

News of the committee follows months and months of red-hot controversies stemming from Documenta 14, which ran last year, concerning alleged cost overruns having to do with its expansion into Athens, as well as the political nature of some of its work (most notably, a monument to refugees by Olu Oguibe).

“Documenta is an essential forum for contemporary art and, as the legacy of Arnold Bode, a treasure that enhances the image of the city of Kassel,” the city’s mayor, Christian Geselle, who chairs the Documenta’s supervisory board, said in a statement, referring to the exhibition’s founder. “I am very pleased to note that an international finding commission composed of outstanding experts has been chosen to find an artistic director for Documenta 15. And we are right on schedule.”

Documenta said that the artistic director will be named by early 2019, which does, indeed, roughly conform to the timeline of the last two iterations. The director of D14, Adam Szymczyk, was selected in November of 2013, a little more than a year after the close of the previous edition, D13, and the curator for that edition, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, was named around that same time in 2013, also a bit more than a year after the end of the previous edition.

In April, Sabine Schormann was picked to be the new CEO of the organization. She will officially take up the position on November 1, but was involved in forming the current committee, according to Documenta. In a statement that could provide a few hints for job applicants, Schormann said, “Personally, I am very eager to see where the journey takes us and whether Documenta 15 will be more concerned with such issues as sharing and participation, intercultural networking, performance and discourse, the role of digital media or our approach to the use of public space—to name only a few conceivable focal points of interest.”

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