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The documenta archive stores thousands of unsolicited applications. While in 1972 a good 250 artists unsolicitedly and unsuccessfully applied to participate at documenta 5, there were already around 900 at documenta 7 and almost 1,500 at documenta 8.

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docArt of the Month

docArt of the Month
October 2019
#39 Hans Hartung stands on his head

In a letter from the Kleemann Galleries in New York, addressed to Arnold Bode, attention is drawn to the fact that an image of a painting by Hans Hartung has been printed upside down in the exhibition catalog of the first documenta.

docArt of the Month
September 2019
#38 "Unloading a pile of crap - How long are you willing to be teased?" A protest during documenta 5

External events and even protests have taken place during documenta exhibitions on multiple occasions.

docArt of the Month
August 2019
#37 Yesterday still banned from entering the house and today already here again

"Acoustic art forms not as brainchilds but on and out breaking soul torment, rampant, willfully forced cacophony, a wildly wafting, slapping, screeching sequence of sounds and words, here and there combined with trivial themes of the hit song industry."

docArt of the Month
July 2019
#36 documenta at night

Busy streets, internationality. Year after year, Kassel is filled with traces of documenta’s regional, national and, international visitors.

docArt of the Month
June 2019
#35 Panamarenko - 1969, 15m, 30kg

The first exhibition catalogues by the Städtische Museum Mönchengladbach under the direction of Johannes Cladders (1924-2009) showed that a catalogue can give visitors the opportunity to take a piece of the art experience with them.

docArt of the Month
May 2019
#34 Henk Visch – a walk in the museum

For the exhibition of the Dutch artist Henk Visch (born 1950) at the Kunsthalle Hannover in 1990 not only an exhibition catalogue was published, but also a small red wooden house.

docArt of the Month
April 2019
#33 Art and Anesthesia. Günter Sarée, the lapse-creator

For the fifth documenta, Harald Szeemann (1933-2005) had originally planned a separate section entitled “Participation and Play,” for which air inflated tents were to be constructed on Friedrichplatz.

docArt of the Month
March 2019
#32 A kiss is not always a kiss

A photograph by Dieter Schwerdtle from 1982 shows the artistic director of documenta 7, Rudi Fuchs, with one of his artists, Ulrich Rückriem, in a closely entwined pose.

docArt of the Month
February 2019
#31 Fritz Winter. An exhibition catalogue of the Göppinger Galerie in Frankfurt 1959

Widely known for his pioneer exhibition designs and for being a participant in creating new museal spaces, Arnold Bode was the co-founder of a private gallery in the 1960s.

docArt of the Month
January 2019
#30 Book of dancers – Trisha Brown: Accumulation, Floor of the Forest

“Come hear Uncle John’s band by the riverside. Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide …” several times a day, the polyphonic country song by the Grateful Dead could be heard on the 1st floor of the Fridericianum.

docArt of the Month
December 2018
#29 Motives for the documenta 1955

The first documenta is nowadays known as an exhibition that should have rehabilitated art that was called ‘degenerate’ during National Socialism.

docArt of the Month
November 2018
#28 Art after the art

In 1972 at documenta 5 the photo journalist Brigitte Hellgoth photographed the installation "Five Car Stud" by Edward Kienholz.

docArt of the Month
October 2018
#27 Proposal list - which painters were selected for documenta 4

At first glance, the 4-page document of the committee for painting of September 1967, already slightly brown in color, with signs of usage and handwritten revisions, seems inconspicuous.

docArt of the Month
September 2018
#26 John Bock: Gribbohm II b

Visitors of documenta 11 in 2002 must have thought "Ops, what's there?” before they disappeared under the sloping constructed wooden box. A moment of desired participation is captured in our docArt of the month.

docArt of the Month
August 2018
#25 Arnold Bode: The organization chart for documenta III

Arnold Bode loved to depict his thoughts in graphic presentations. In doing so, he tried to capture his sparkling, never-ending flood of ideas in vivid concepts.

docArt of the Month
July 2018
#24 Gunter Demnig: From Kassel to Paris

In 1980, the artist Gunter Demnig laid down his scented trace "DUFTMARKEN CASSEL - PARIS DEMNIG 80" from the Kunsthochschule Kassel to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.  

docArt of the Month
June 2018
#23 Matthew Barney: OTTOshaft

During documenta 9 (1992), Dirk Bleicker made this image of Matthew Barney's work OTTOshaft, which seems as enigmatic as it is threatening, in a truly strange exhibition place in Kassel.

docArt of the Month
May 2018
#22 The documenta diaries by Klaus Röhring

Not long ago five diaries on the subject of documenta 9, 11 and 12 were given to the documenta archiv. Klaus Röhring long-standing councilor of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck and now retired, used the various documenta exhibitions also as a source of inspiration for his sermons.

docArt of the Month
April 2018
#21 An information brochure by the Achberger Institute for Social Science

The Achberger Institute for Social Science was with its “5 Achberger Congress” one of the organizers of the FIU at documenta 6 for one week. The institute was founded in 1973 and was part of the "International Cultural Centre Achberg" (INKA) on Lake Constance, which emerged from the anthroposophical movement in the early 1970s.

docArt of the Month
March 2018
#20 Arnold Bode, the tireless draughtsman

In August 2017, a donation of seven drawings dated from 1956 to 1968 enhanced the personal papers of Arnold Bode held at the documenta archiv. Initially they originated from the part of Arnold Bode’s person papers that was in possession of his wife, and after that were part of a private collection for a long time.

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