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July 2007

Documenta 12

Art fans’ annual migration from Basel to the Venice Biennale ends this year in a sleepy provincial town in Hessen. For the twelfth time in more than fifty years, the Documenta art exhibition will take place in Kassel. One of the world’s best contemporary art exhibitions, it was first staged in 1955 as a means of reintroducing a vibrant and cosmopolitan cultural scene to post-war Germany. Every five years since then, a new director steps in to reconceive the exhibition. This installation is centered around three themes: “Is modernity our antiquity?,” “What is bare life?,” and “What is to be done?” The choice of questions as headings is pertinent: While most exhibitions are inherently pedagogical, the organizers of Documenta claim, “We stage an exhibition in order to find something out.” Indeed, this show is a dialog and consideration of the state of modern art. Art will be displayed at venues throughout the city, and accompanied by a supplemental program of magazines, lectures, and films. Maps, programs, and tickets (€ 18 for a day pass) are available at The exhibition will be on display from June 16 to September 23, 10 am to 8 pm daily. Kassel’s Wilhelmshöhe Station is located 3.5 hours from the Munich Hauptbahnhof, and round-trip tickets cost around € 178.

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