“The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist” is a project by Jens Hoffmann that was presented on E-flux and recently published by Revolver Publishing House (http://( Power Ekroth attended the seminar in Istanbul in April, which featured Daniel Buren, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serkan Özkaya, Vasif Kortun, Martha Rosler, Alex Farquharson, Tino Sehgal, Christoph Keller, and Dorotea von Hantelmann

The book launch of the anthology The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist coincided with a seminar with the same title hosted by Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul, Turkey, during two days in April. The book, edited and curated by Jens Hoffmann, consists of texts from a wide variety of artists. Much of the content of the seminar revolved around questions of power, control over the exhibition, control of art, money, and structures in the art world in general.


Daniel Buren, who in 1972 had already formulated thoughts on the curator of Documenta that year (Harald Szeemann), stated that artists have increasingly become puppets to fill the catalogue of the curator. Christoph Keller of Revolver publishing house commented on the function of the larger subsidized exhibition as mainly a large marketing tool for the art world, and thought that it had nothing to do with art really. Martha Rosler countered that exhibitions are also markets for ideas, that is, art has still a purpose to remodel the world, and as a result of larger exhibitions like Documenta there is a larger market for this.

In the end it seems to be an unbeatable system, and in some ways the mega-show is still an interesting medium. Who should curate it then? An artist, a curator, a carpenter…? Just as long as the person has a vision, and social as well as organizational skills, the result will be hated and loved in any case, right? But no matter how the curators for larger shows are chosen, or what profession they come from, it is important to remember that the curator is, at the end of the day, only a “partner in crime” alongside the artists.

From left to right: Vasif Kortun, Daniel Buren, Anton Vidokle, Martha Rosler and Jens Hoffmann. Picture: Power Ekroth