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“Reality”: Ideology at D5

DOCUMENTA, UNLIKE THE VENICE Biennale, has always been a centralized organization, not as some Americans suppose because of a Teutonic rage for order but because this is the only way to control the mid-century abundance of art when sampled on a large scale. It is also the only way to control the plurality of interest groups, at ministerial, mercantile, and independent levels activated by an exhibition of this magnitude. This year, to the fact of centralization, was added a decision that the show be thematic. In the past it was unnecessary to do so: the second Documenta in 1949, like the Biennale at the time, was filling in gaps in European knowledge of the recent past, especially in the American section (roughly Pollock to Rauschenberg). The third Documenta, due mainly to Werner Haftmann, was a kind of homage to the human spirit, a compilation of great thoughts and high feeling embodied

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