Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will assume the post of Director of the documenta archiv as of August 1, 2020. She succeeds Dr. Birgit Jooss, who since summer 2016 has been in charge of the archive, only handed over from the custody of the City of Kassel to documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in early 2016. In her role, Oberste-Hetbleck will now also help shape the development of the documenta Institute, which will initially be under the umbrella of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH in cooperation with the German federal government, the State of Hesse, the City of Kassel and Kassel University.


Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck (born 1978) has held the Junior Professorship of “Art History and Art Market” in the Department of Art History at Cologne University since 2015. Furthermore, she was scientific head of the affiliated institute Zentralarchiv für deutsche und internationale Kunstmarktforschung ZADIK (Central Archive for German and International Art Market Research) until its transfer to the University of Cologne in 2020. As part of her previous research and activities, Oberste-Hetbleck is particularly concerned with historical and contemporary art market structures as well as contemporary exhibitions. She therefore brings relevant experience to the management of the documenta archiv and the further development of the archive into a research institute. In her teaching role in the Department of Art History, Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck was responsible for the master’s core module Art Market developing formats focusing on the mediation of archive topics. The documenta and its history were also a recurring focus.


Her work covers interdisciplinary research, innovative approaches and international networking: “Interdisciplinarity, digitization and cooperation have always been of great concern to me. I am very much looking forward to incorporating this focus into the future design of the documenta archiv. With its unique holdings on the world art exhibitions, the archive will form the nucleus of the newly emerging documenta Institute. On the path to this goal, it is important to work intensively with the holdings, to make them accessible and to actively use them for mediation and research,” says Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck.


The shareholders of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse welcome the Finding Commission’s choice. Chairman of the Supervisory Board at documenta gGmbH Lord Mayor Christian Geselle states: “With Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck, Kassel is gaining a talented archive manager and art historian. I am convinced that with her expert knowledge she will be able to further develop and shape the documenta archiv, in particular when establishing the documenta Institute.”


Angela Dorn, Hesse’s Minister of State for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, is certain: “Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will use her expertise in the field of art history and archive mediation to make the holdings of the unique documenta archive visible nationally and internationally and make them fruitful for the documenta Institute. We look forward to working with her”.


Dr. Sabine Schormann, Director General of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, emphasizes: “The Finding Commission was able to choose from a very good field of applicants. The key factor in its unanimous decision was ultimately the fact that Dr. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck can look back on extensive experience in the various fields required by this specific archive and its upcoming development challenges.”


Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck will take up her post on August 1, 2020. Until then, the interim management will remain with the head of the scientific department, Martin Groh.  


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. Nadine Oberste-Hetbleck in printable resolution can be downloaded here. Photo: Helmar Mildner.


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