PRINT September 2017


Pavel Filonov, Formula of Spring, 1922–23, oil on canvas, 39 3/8 × 39 3/8". Neue Galerie, Kassel.

HELL IS FULL OF GOOD INTENTIONS, but heaven is full of good works: This maxim, attributed to a medieval French abbot, is one that contemporary curators should bear in mind. The team behind Documenta 14, earnestly dubbed “Learning from Athens,” has issued so many well-intended progressive statements and condemnations of the neocolonial, patriarchal, heteronormative world order that it’s hardly surprising the exhibition occasionally feels like a trip to quinquennial perdition. The good news: This Documenta is not a monolithically pious exercise, but a multiplicity of proposals. It involves radio and television programming, publications, performances, and educational seminars, as well as individual and collective works of art installed in a vast variety of spaces scattered across its two locations, Kassel and Athens. Think of it as a two-headed octopus with some arms unfurling in

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