Independent Research Institute for Exhibition Studies in Kassel: Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude appointed Founding Director of the documenta Institute

The State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, Kassel University with Kunsthochschule Kassel and documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH have appointed the acclaimed sociologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. Bude’s first tasks include formulating a concrete program and developing the internal and external organizational structures of the documenta Institute, which was founded by the four partners as an independent academic research institution.

Bude stands for a brand of science open to a diagnosis of our times gaining prominence with contributions on the issues of social division, regional desertification and global societal dislocation. In 2016, he was awarded the Prize of the German Sociological Association for outstanding achievements in the field of public impact of sociology. Since 2000 he has taught Macrosociology at the University of Kassel.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude emphasized at his introduction presentation in Kassel: “The unique opportunity for the documenta Institute is that it views documenta as a model for the exhibition of contemporary art and thus addresses the global social phenomenon of the biennialization of the art field. The interplay between archive, research and urban social participation will create a laboratory for research into contemporaneity through the presentation of contemporary art.”

Lord Mayor Christian Geselle: “In Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude we were able to enlist one of Germany’s most distinguished sociologists as Founding Director of the documenta Institute. This is of great importance for the world art exhibition and our city of art and culture, Kassel. We are delighted that he has been connected to our city through his teaching activities for 20 years now and will remain so in future. I look forward to the impulses Prof. Bude will inject into the future institute.”

Angela Dorn, Hesse’s Minister of State for Higher Education, Science and the Arts: “I am extremely pleased that Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude has agreed to take on the role of Director of the documenta Institute in its foundation phase. With him at the helm, the institute can become a place where an archive meets its art and where research is conceived and carried out as part of social discourse. I look forward to productive discussions and – together with the other partners – I am curious to discover the profile this new Founding Director will give the emerging Institute.”

Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, President of the University of Kassel: “We recently outlined the framework for the documenta Institute, and now we are giving the institute a face. I am extremely pleased that Prof. Bude is taking on this task. He is one of the most astute and incisive analysts, both in Germany and internationally, of current events, the development of global society and its forms of expression. In him the Institute will have a Founding Director who will vigorously promote its development as an interdisciplinary research institute with international reach. For the institute, for the university and for the city, this appointment is of enormous benefit.”

General Director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH Dr. Sabine Schormann: “Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude brings with him excellent experience both in terms of content and structure enabling him, together with all partners, to develop the institute and orient it towards the future. I very much look forward to working with him and would also like to take this opportunity to thank the University of Kassel, which has enabled Prof. Bude to be available to the documenta Institute during the foundation phase.”

Image material, Prof. Dr. Heinz Bude’s biography and list of publications as well as his speech can be downloaded here. Additional images of the event will be available around 4 pm. You can also access the livestream of the press conference in retrospect here.

About the documenta Institute

The documenta Institute is being developed in a cooperation between the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel, documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and the University of Kassel with Kunsthochschule Kassel with financial support for the building project from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

The starting point for the documenta Institute is the holdings of the documenta archiv, which is being developed into an extramural research institute. 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 and relevant bequests and estates.

The documenta Institute will initially be founded under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and is intended to act in a cross-disciplinary manner to stimulate, conduct and further develop research related to the international exhibition business and documenta and to promote its public exposure.