The art historian and media theorist Hans Belting died on 10 January 2023 at the age of 87. His research, which spanned epochs and media, set standards in the field of visual history.

In his book "The End of Art History. Eine Revision nach zehn Jahren" (1995), the expanded reprint of his Munich inaugural address, he describes the first documenta of 1955 in the light of a "late cult of modernism". He recognises in it a historical-critical component, a retrospectively cleansed image of desire and memory, and the impulse to escape from the present: "It is too easy to forget that the first 'documenta' exhibition in Kassel in 1955 did not present contemporary art-making as it does today, but in retrospect celebrated modern art, which had survived the times of persecution and annihilation, as a new classicism."

"'The modern picture' was probably modern in the sense of a period designation, but not in the sense of contemporary."

In his interview with Amine Haase in the Kunstforum on documenta 12 ("Auf Chinesischen Stühlen?" vol. 187, 2007, pp.97-101), he is also critical of the catchphrases of "migration of forms" and globalisation within the curatorial concept of Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack.

As a former colleague at the hfg Karlsruhe, the artist Mischa Kuball recalls:

"(...) In 2007, we - Hans Belting, Andrea Buddensieg, Beat Wyss and I - led about 50 students from the hfg Karlsruhe around documenta 12. The special thing about it was that we stopped ad hoc at works of art and fell into a situation of discussion. Although Roger Buergel and Ruth Noack did not actually 'tolerate' self-organised guided tours, we almost playfully broke this requirement. Hans Belting was the ringleader - wherever he stopped and fixed his gaze on something, a moment of agora arose. Sometimes a crowd of 150 people formed, who first listened attentively to the exchange, but then intervened discursively. This kind of 'democratisation of debate' with a random audience appealed to Hans Belting, even electrified him. We were an unpredictable discourse monad at the d12! - His critical impulse and friendship will be missed."