Dr. Birgitta Coers takes over as Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, 2020.

Art historian Birgitta Coers (born 1970) will be heading up the documenta archiv from October 1, 2020. Following her university career in Marburg and Tübingen, she has specialized in recent years in the physical and digital management of artists’ estates. After an initial posting in the Art Department of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden, she was commissioned by the Saxon State Ministry for Science and the Arts to develop a data model for the early legacy of artistic objects and writings, and coordinated the development of the Margot Fürst / HAP Grieshaber Archive at the Rottweil Regional Council. Most recently, she worked as a scientific archivist at the State Archives of Baden-Württemberg, where she developed instruments for provenance research.

Coers’ academic focus is on the art of the 19th and 20th centuries, cultural and political networks between East and West after 1945 and exhibition and institutional history. Furthermore, web-based publication strategies and digital research infrastructures are of particular interest to her from a library and archival viewpoint.

In accordance with the decision of the Finding Commission, the documenta archiv has been set up with the new direction as future-oriented institution – from both perspectives, the archival and art historical: “As director of the documenta archiv, it is my concern to prepare the exceptional holdings scientifically and make them internationally visible. I will always take the digital challenges into account looking forward to making the archive a lively place of knowledge within the planned documenta Institute," says Birgitta Coers.

Birgitta Coers replaces Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, who will now not be taking up the post of director of the documenta archiv as planned on August 1, 2020. For family reasons, she has decided to remain in Cologne, where she will head up the Zentralarchiv für deutsche und internationale Kunstmarktforschung ZADIK (Central Archive for German and International Art Market Studies) at the University of Cologne, which she has been closely associated with for years. “I had already been looking forward to working in Kassel for the documenta archiv, which is one of the world’s leading art archives and one that holds great potential for the planned documenta Institute. However, my future position in Cologne and the professional ties that already exist pave the way for varied points of contact for joint projects and an intensive exchange,” says Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck.

Until Birgitta Coers takes up her post, the interim management of the documenta archiv will remain in the hands of Martin Groh, Head of the Scientific Department.

About the documenta archiv
The documenta archiv was founded in 1961 by Arnold Bode and is dedicated to the archiving, documentation and scholarly processing of text and image sources on modern and contemporary art, in particular the documenta exhibitions that have taken place since 1955. In addition to the documenta documents, the holdings include extensive press, image and audiovisual media collections, a unique art library as well as relevant bequests and estates. The documenta archiv is part of the documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH with the shareholders the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse. The documenta archiv is being further developed into an extramural research institute in cooperation with the University of Kassel and Kunsthochschule Kassel. The documenta Institute is intended to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the documenta and to promote its public exposure. A new building is being planned.

A portrait of Dr. Birgitta Coers in printable resolution can be downloaded here. Photo: Fotofabrik Stuttgart