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The documenta archiv is committed to recording and preserving the “memory” of the documenta, one of the most important exhibitions on contemporary art worldwide.

documenta archiv

Untere Karlsstr. 4, 34117 Kassel
Phone +49 56170727-3100
e-mail archiv@documenta.de

Opening Hours Reading Room:
Tuesday: 9.00 am til 7.00 pm, from Wednesday to Friday: 9.00 am til 4.00 pm
The documenta archiv is closed for the public until February 15, 2021.

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Working Groups

Cooperation archives in North Hesse

The Cooperation “Archives in North Hesse” was initiated in 2001 on occasion of the first “Day of the Archives” in Germany addressing the need to combine efforts within the region and continues to work together ever since. It consists of 13 institutions varying from communal, scientific, associations and private archives as well as archives that are part of foundations. The cooperation aims to draw attention to these archives by participating within the nationwide “Day of Archive” representing the region of North Hesse. It also coordinates public relations for the archives and promotes the professional exchange between archivists.


Cooperation of Art- and Museum Libraries

The Cooperation of Art- and Museum Libraries (AKMB) was founded in 1995 as a cooperative to represent the interests of small and understaffed art and museum libraries in the German-speaking regions and to provide council when needed. The main aim is to improve the overall performance of art and museum libraries and other documentation centers by cooperating together. The AKMB has now approximately 260 institutional and personal members.


Cultural Archives work group

The Cultural Archives work group was born out of the existing permanent expert group 8 – archives of Universities and scientific research institutions – of the Association of German Archivists (VdA). It collectively addresses issues and interests relevant to the various cultural archives in Germany and represents them in a permanent expert group 8 of the VdA. The committee meets twice annually and is presently headed by Dr. Anne Thurmann-Jajes, Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen Bremen (Center for Artist Publications Bremen).

Art Archives work group

The Art Archives work group was founded in 2015 and serves to promote the professional exchange between art archives in German-speaking regions. Its annual meetings provide an opportunity for mutual knowledge exchange. It develops synergies of collection profiles, debates and discusses current issues such as copyright legislation and develops future projects.


Kassel and Northern Hesse Emergency Network

In 2016 twelve cultural institutions formed a network dedicated to the safeguarding of culture heritage within the region. In the event of emergency or disaster, such as fire, flood, or storms, members join forces to recover and protect acutely endangered cultural assets, while providing support to emergency and fire services. Furthermore, the network helps organize damage prevention by drawing-up emergency plans, engaging in joint emergency exercises, and providing mutual assistance regarding on-site protective measures.



European Art Net

European-art.net presently connects twelve art archives, all operating on an international level, on the basis of their databases. A meta search engine enables simultaneously access to artists, artists groups, art institutions and other topics relevant to art of the 20th and 21st century of all participating archives. Information on archival records, documents and publications are available. The meta search engine was launched in 2003 and currently offers over 330.000 individual entries.


Southwest German Library Union Catalog

Since 2009 the art library of the documenta archiv is part of the Southwest German Library Union Catalog (Südwestdeutscher Bibliotheksverbund SWB). The SWB union catalog contains data of more than 1.200 libraries (books, periodicals, articles, electronic media etc.). Some of the most important art libraries are participants. The catalog consists of 25 million bibliographical data mostly of scientific literature with 78 million holding records of all participating libraries. The cooperation with the SWB guarantees a wider visibility of the holdings of library of the documenta archiv.


Association of German Archivists

The director of the documenta archiv maintains close ties to the Association of German Archivists (VdA) through personal membership. The Association is committed to advocating archival matters relevant to the German-speaking world as well as promoting professional exchange and development. Further activities include an annual conference (German Archive Day), held in conjunction with the trade fair ARCHIVISTA, and publishes its own publications. Members of the VdA include archivists of various backgrounds and specialization. It is the largest archivist association in Europe with presently over 2,400 members. The documenta archiv is part of the permanent expert group 8 - archives at universities and other research institutions.


Union catalog of periodicals

Since 2011 the holdings of all periodicals within the art library are supplied and documented within the union catalog of periodicals (ZDB). The union catalog of periodicals is worldwide one of the largest databases documenting the issuing of magazines, newspapers, serials and other periodically published items in all languages, without any time limitation in printed, electronic or other form. About 3700 libraries cooperate in the production of this union catalog on a regular basis.


In addition the documenta archiv plans to participate in the near future within the following online portals: Archivportal D, Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek and Europeana.

Patrons and Friends

documenta forum

Founded in 1972 by Arnold Bode, the documenta forum seeks to „further develop Bode’s exhibition concept and provide the framework necessary to secure the documenta as an international and independent exhibition of contemporary art”. As such it advocates use of the Museum Fridericianum as exhibition hall during intervals between documenta exhibitions and actively supports the documenta archiv through fund-raising measures cultural lobbying.


Impulse für Kassel Stiftung

In 2013 Udo Wendland established the “Impulse für Kassel“ foundation in Kassel. The first two projects the foundation supported are the documentation of the photographic bequest by Dieter Schwerdtle in the documenta archive, and an exhibition in honor of Fritz Schwegler titled „neue enden“. Financial support is provided to institutions only; private individuals cannot apply.