The head of the Anne Frank educational center in Frankfurt am Main, Meron Mendel, has announced his resignation as advisor to “documenta fifteen”.
After the massive criticism of an anti-Semitic work shown at the Documenta and then removed, Mendel should help as an external expert to clarify the cases of anti-Jewish images and prevent further cases, as the spokeswoman for the educational institution, Eva Berendsen, said on Friday.
Now Mendel explained in the “Spiegel” interview that he missed the serious will of the Documenta to deal with the scandal. That’s why he informed the Documenta management at the beginning of the week that he was no longer available as a consultant.
Director General Sabine Schormann had actually announced a systematic examination of the works presented at 32 locations. The Ruangrupa group of curators should lead this investigation, supported by external experts such as Meron Mendel. Mendel then took part in two panels on June 29, one co-organized by the Anne Frank educational institution.
He had accused the Documenta curators of the Indonesian group Ruangrupa of not having entered into an exchange with the social German context. But this should not be ignored.
“I thought it should be about examining the artworks and entering into a dialogue with Ruangrupa, the artistic director,” Mendel told Der Spiegel. But after more than two weeks, neither one nor the other happened. Phone calls went unanswered, and his request to speak to Ruangrupa was “put on the back burner with excuses.”
In an interview, Mendel criticized Director General Sabine Schormann: “When she asked me, I got the impression that she understood the gravity of the crisis.” . No action followed this announcement. The idea of establishing a top-class advisory board made up of anti-Semitism experts was also rejected. He gets the impression that the goal here is to play for time, according to Mendel.
Even before the opening, “Documenta fifteen” was criticized for allegedly being very close to the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic BDS movement. When the “People’s Justice” banner by the Indonesian artist group Taring Padi hung up with drastically anti-Semitic imagery, a scandal broke out. Ruangrupa first had the picture covered and then removed, and the curatorial collective has since apologized.