Annette Kulenkampff. Photo: Bundesrat

Documenta CEO Annette Kulenkampff Steps Down

Documenta CEO Annette Kulenkampff has resigned from her post one year before her contract ends, Catherine Hickely of the Art Newspaper reports. The announcement follows a controversy over the quinquennial exhibition’s finances—its fourteenth edition is facing a deficit of $8.3 million.

According to the city of Kassel, Kulenkampff will stay on until June 1, 2018, and will work on “creating important structural conditions for a successful Documenta 15.” She will also help search for an artistic director for its next iteration in 2022. Commenting on her departure, the city said that her decision to leave the exhibition was “a mutual agreement.”

Following the conclusion of Documenta 14—the first to be held across two cities, Athens and Kassel—its parent company Documenta gGmbH announced that it would implement new organizational, personnel, and financial structures to help ensure the success of its future editions. The primary source of this year’s overspending was attributed to its expansion to Athens. Between the months of January and July, Documenta recorded a loss of about $6.4 million.

After the exhibition’s audit report was released earlier this month, artistic director Adam Szymczyk criticized how the report was handled—he first learned of its findings from the media—and defended the curatorial vision for the show: “I think blaming ‘Athens’ for the trouble is an easy political excuse, opening the way to limiting the autonomy of any future documenta [exhibitions] through managerial ‘adjustments,’ thus undermining the fundamental premise of the project—its autonomy.”