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The documenta archiv to receive an important donation: The internationally unique performance art archive "Die Schwarze Lade / the Black Kit: Archive for Performance, Action and Intermedia Art" to be presented by documenta artist Boris Nieslony

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documenta archiv receives Bazon Brock’s premature legacy - Hubert Burda funds indexing


View 2 of the Presentation at the Neue Denkerei, 2019, Photo: Stefanie Hierholzer/Ulrich Klaus

The documenta archiv has received as a gift the important legacy of thinker, art mediator, art critic, artist and professor Bazon Brock. Amongst other things, Bazon Brock founded the documenta “Besucherschulen” (Visitors’ Schools) thereby establishing the mediation of contemporary art as a critical independent practice with overarching cultural objectives.


The now presented comprehensive premature legacy is testimony to Bazon Brock’s decades of work at his cultural institution the “Denkerei” in Berlin and at his studio in Wuppertal. The legacy includes screen-prints, correspondence, slides, photos, teaching materials, image and sound material, publications, press clippings, art objects, digital data as well as 2,000 titles from his library with comments and notes permitting an insight into his modus operandi.
For the documenta archiv, which belongs to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, acquisition of this comprehensive collection means a valuable addition to its core inventory, also with regard to forthcoming documenta Institute. Together with the Arnold Bode legacy this addition will form the foundation to the curators’ center which is set to be further extended.


The gift will be accompanied by a generous donation from Dr. Hubert Burda. This commitment will allow for the collection to be indexed thereby paving the way for its public use and academic examination.


Hubert Burda – celebrating his 80th birthday over the next few days – and Bazon Brock are linked by a decades-long friendship based, amongst other things, on shared ideas in the field of critical thinking and the productive culture of debate. Commenting on this Hubert Burda said: “One of my greatest achievements is perhaps that I have managed to bear with him over 50 years.” It was very important for Bazon Brock that his archive and parts of his collection were presented to the documenta archiv to be suitably prepared there as an “ordered premature legacy”: “It means a great deal to me to have found such an appropriate place for my life’s work that is accessible to the public.”


Christian Geselle, Lord Mayor of the City of Kassel and Supervisory Board Chairman of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, is delighted with the gift: “This is a great addition for the documenta city of Kassel. Gaining such a key legacy for Kassel shows the huge potential the documenta archiv – only entrusted by the City to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH three years ago – in terms of the historiography of documenta and also the development of contemporary art and art mediation.”


The State of Hessen also welcomes the addition. Commenting on this Hessen’s State Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts Angela Dorn said: “documenta regularly puts Hessen into the international spotlight delighting all those who are interested in art. In addition to the major cultural significance it is also welcomed that the move includes citizens and makes documenta an experience for them. Bazon Brock has carried out significant work in the field of art mediation. I am delighted that he is leaving his important life’s work to the documenta archiv in memory of the world art exhibition. And likewise that as a state Hessen will continue to grow as a center of this art mediation.”


Dr. Sabine Schormann, General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, underlines the significance of this donation: “The breadth of Bazon Brock’s work, past and present, as a universal poet, teacher of aesthetics, author, speaker and creator of visitor and citizen schools is similarly reflected in the diversity, universality and rich contrasts of the legacy which we have now received as a gift for the documenta archiv. The fact that Hubert Burda has also decided to make such a generous donation for work on the legacy will pave the way to it being suitably indexed. We are deeply indebted to Bazon Brock and to him. The outgoing director of the documenta archiv, Birgit Jooss and her team, have also ensured that the legacy could be secured for Kassel through their many years of commitment and professional work.


The legacy will be presented in full upon completion of structural work on the documenta Institute, which is currently being established. The cataloguing work will begin before then.



Bazon Brock

Prof. Dr. Bazon Brock (born in 1936 as Jürgen Johannes Hermann Brock) studied German, Philosophy and Politics. He was a student of Adorno, lyricist, dramaturge, artist and Professor of Aesthetics and is considered an exponent of the Fluxus movement. He is the founder of the “Besucherschule” (Visitors’ School) that was held to accompany the documenta exhibitions 4, 5, 6 and 7 and which remained influential during documenta 8 and 9. In 1968 the concept advocated for a new kind of art mediation that promoted audience literacy at a visual level: the aim was to educate a qualified and informed art audience across the board. The concept also particularly became known by means of the “Audiovisual Foreword” of documenta 5.

Downloadable Visuals:
1. Portrait of Prof. Dr. Bazon Brock, Copyright Verena Berg
2. Portrait of Prof. Dr. Hubert Burda © Hubert Burda Media
3. View of the Presentation at the Neue Denkerei, 2019, Photo: Stefanie Hierholzer/Ulrich Klaus
4. View 2 of the Presentation at the Neue Denkerei, 2019, Photo: Stefanie Hierholzer/Ulrich Klaus
5. View of the Book Counter at the Neue Denkerei, 2019, Photo: Stefanie Hierholzer/Ulrich Klaus