The director of a German art exhibition leaves after the presentation of an anti-Semitic work


BERLIN– The head of a major art exhibition in Germany has resigned after an exhibit featuring anti-Semitic elements caused an uproar when the event opened last month.

The board of directors of the show documenta fifteen announced on Saturday that Sabine Schormann was leaving her position as general manager by mutual agreement. She also lamented what she described as “unambiguous anti-Semitic motifs” visible in one of the works shown during the opening weekend.

“The presentation of the ‘People’s Justice’ banner by the artist collective Taring Padi with its anti-Semitic imagery was a clear transgression and thus caused significant harm to the documenta,” the council said.

The banner depicted a soldier with the face of a pig, wearing a headscarf with a Star of David and a helmet inscribed with the word “Mossad”, the name of Israel’s intelligence agency. It was pulled days after widespread criticism from Jewish groups and German and Israeli officials.

Indonesia-based Taring Padi Collective has already apologized for the incident. He said the work – which he said was first exhibited at the South Australian Art Festival in Adelaide 20 years ago – was “in no way related” to the anti-Semitism, but rather referred to the post-1965 dictatorship in Indonesia.

“We are sorry that the details of this banner are misunderstood outside of their original purpose. We apologize for any injuries caused in this context,” he said last month.

He acknowledged that the incident followed months of debate over alleged anti-Semitism, which he and the show’s organizers had firmly rejected.

Germany’s president raised the issue of anti-Semitism during his opening speech for the show, saying there are ‘limits’ to what artists can do when tackling political issues in an atoning country the Holocaust again.

The board of documenta, which meets every four years in the central German city of Kassel, has called for a swift investigation into the incident.

ABC News

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