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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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#2 Joseph Beuys And His Initiative For Direct Democracy


In the documenta archiv #2


Thursday, March 1 - Sunday, May 27, 2018


Venue: Reading room at the documenta archiv, Untere Karlsstr. 4, 34117 Kassel


Admission free

© documenta archiv / Dieter Schwerdtle

Dieter Schwerdtle: Joseph Beuys at the FIU press conference, documenta 6, 1977, Inventory Number: docA, MS, d6, 10035633, © Joseph Beuys/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

At the 5th documenta in 1972, Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) set up an "Office for Direct Democracy by Referendum". Five years later, during documenta 6, he held an international forum at the Museum Fridericianum that included discussions, workshops and various artistic activities touching upon socially, politically and culturally relevant topics. It was part of the events around the "Free International University" founded by Beuys in 1974 together with Klaus Staeck (born 1938) and others.


With his initiatives for referendums and for an open, independent university, the artist reacted to developments in society and politics that had changed the Federal Republic of Germany since the end of the 1960s: a state that, in his opinion, was still characterized by an overly repressive education system and too much party power and representative democracy.


The exhibition presents rarely seen photographs and archival material stored in the documenta archiv, including texts that accompanied the events, correspondences, newspaper clippings and posters. It shows the creation, implementation and reception of Beuys' contributions to the two documenta exhibitions.


The exhibition is part of the "Nordhessische Woche der Archive" (North Hessian Week of Archives) which is held from March 1st til 8th, 2018 under the motto "Democracy and Citizens' Rights".


Curators: Martin Groh and Saskia Mattern

© documenta archiv / Nicolas Wefers