"Nothing is mandatory anymore. Not even looking, a precise perception, as the positivists demanded, is no longer required. The 20th century, it seems, is the age of dispensation. Anyone can remain as ignorant as they are. Everyone can cultivate their prejudices and immunize themselves against criticism as best as they can. And if a position of power becomes available, the accidental being can be used as a standard for others. Instead of learning to look closely, a practice of manipulating of facts applies." (Quote Klaus Baum: "The unidentified animal", Notes on DOCUMENTA IX)

 

Klaus Baum (born 1942) writes this paragraph as part of an essay for a volume of materials for documenta 9, which illustrates his critical nature and ironic finesse. Through this and similar encounters with contemporary art, Baum seemed to be destined to take up the post as director of art education. Not at least can this be seen also in our record of the Month: a review by the visitors of documenta 9, which shows how satisfied they were with the mediation services offered.

 

Klaus Baum had been hired by the then managing director of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum Veranstaltungs-GmbH, Alexander Farenholtz (born 1954), without consultation with the artistic director. Baum was responsible for the entire organizational preparatory work, the further training of the art educators, administrative management and communication of the art education program. Before the opening of documenta 9, the artistic director Jan Hoet (1936-2014) finally met him at the Fridericianum and called across the cafeteria: "No concept. If there is a concept, then it is that of the non-concept. Read Nietzsche!" No one had introduced the two to each other at that time.

 

In March 1992 after Baum had settled in a larger office at the Kulturhaus Dock 4, he had to move into the Fridericianum. He was initially assigned a small room of about 4 square meters in the stairwell. At the time he called an animal shelter and was told that the minimum space of a dog cage had to be at least 6 square meters.

 

Before the opening of the exhibition Baum would often spend time in the office of the management of documenta. There, in a large basement room, the artists would come and meet with Jan Hoet. What Baum always found constructive was the way Jan Hoet spoke vividly about art by using concrete imagery.

 

Another positive aspect within the practice of art mediation at documenta 9 was for Baum the contact with the public. During the exhibition, he repeatedly proved himself to be a sensitive mediator of art during guided tours for interested and often very demanding groups of visitors.

 

The archive would like to thank Dr. Klaus Baum once again for his commitment and his generosity to leave the testimonies of his experience to the records archive and Media Collection of the documenta archiv.

 

Michael Gärtner and Maximilian Preuss