Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

Report for dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012 in Kassel

The Good News is that the Missing Head of the great Herkules Denkmal that stands high above the City of Kassel has been restored!

When Your Roving Arts Reporter was last in Kassel—for dOCUMENTA (12)—I was shocked to find the Massive Statue of Herkules, that stands atop a Mountain looming above the City of the Plain, had Lost Its Head!

No Explanation was posted on the Scaffolding that enclosed the Great Stone Fortress Pedestal of Herkules.

So I assumed that some International Art Thief had Severed the Head & delivered it into the Secret Garden of some Multinational Oligarch

Not to Worry. The Head had become badly corroded over time, so Kassel Arts Authorities had themselves removed it, in order to Conserve the Hollow Copper Kopf.

Thanks to the Zoom Lens of INFOTOGRAPHY™—recording for TheArtsArchive.comScott Bennett & I were able to see the actual Rivets that have re attached it to the Heroic Body of this Great Greek Icon.

But the Unstable Pedestal still needs a better Fundament, so the Foaming Fountains that once gushed down the Mountain to the great Palace of Williamshöhe, are stilled.

Few who come to Kassel to see dOCUMENTA (13), however, even realize that Herkules is silently standing High Above them, looking down on what passes for Contemporary Art in the Land of Hesse in 2012.

It may seem Odd that—in 2012—this is the 13th dOCUMENTA.

But the 13 has nothing to do with this Actual Year—possibly even less to do with Art as it was once Understood—but only that this is the Thirtheenth of these wide ranging Art Exhibitions.

Among other High Sounding Theoristic Statements, dOCUMENTA (13)s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov Bakargiev insists that dOCUMENTA is "driven by a Holistic & Non Logocentric Vision that is Skeptical of the Persisting Belief in Economic Growth."

So, Take That! You Globalist Guys from Davos!

You Nattering Nabobs of Kultural Negativity!

In the Museum Fridericianum—one of the first Public Art Museums in Europe!—its Pristine White Entrance Wings are filled with little more than Gusts of Cool Air!

This Welcome Wind in a Hot Summer was the Commissioned Work of Ryan Gander!

At least it was preferable to all the Hot Air that oozed from some Wall Texts

Although dOCUMENTA is supposed to showcase New Ideas & Art Makers in Contemporary Art, some Old Timers were very much In Evidence in the Fridericianum.

How about Man Ray, Lee Miller, & Giorgio Morandi?

Seeing one of Alighiero Boetti’s Mercator Projection Map of the World Tapestries seemed like Old Times back in Manhattan at MoMa!

The Fridericianum is not the Only Venue for dOCUMENTA.

The former Hauptbahnhof—now a Freight Depot, as most Post War RR Stations were Relocated, not in the Hearts of Cities, but on the Main Lines—is now itself a kind of Venue, with one of those Man Striding into the Sky on a Long Silver Pole Sculptures permanently embedded in the Forecourt.

Freight Sheds at the side have been given over to South Africa’s innovative William Kentridge!

There’s also the dOCUMENTA Halle, the Baroque Orangerie, the Ottoneum, the Neue Galerie, & the elaborate Baroque Park of the Karlsaue, with its Classical Statues & long Avenue of Tall Trees, bordering a great Versailles like Canal Lake.

Opening on 9 June, dOCUMENTA lasts for 100 Days, featuring some 150 Artists from more than 50 Countries.

But this is not all about showing off New Ideas & Concepts in Various Forms of Art Activity. What would we do without Video Art?

No, Indeed! It is also about talking about Art

A huge thick Book is devoted to listing & describing all the many Lectures, Discussions, Documentaries, & Demonstrations that dOCUMENTA has inspired.



Just what is Spatial Justice? Equal Rights to show Outsider Art?

One of the more unusual installations in the Neue Galerie is Nalini Malani’s In Search of Vanished Blood 2012, with Five Glass Cylinders rotating overhead, casting Colorful Shadowy Images on the Walls.

Ostensibly, the Images reflect the Suppression of Women in India, but, in actuality, they make a Haunting Show that would not be out of place in Disney World

It was also amusing to behold Cut Aways of Important Motor EnginesHarley Davidson, anyone?—functioning even en deshabille.

These were, however, supposed to be emitting Music—or at least Sounds—but they weren’t working right when I passed through. Concerned Technicians were frantically trying to make them BE ART

Just across the Road from the Museum Fridericianum, what looked like a Confederate Army Tent Camp was spread across what remained of the Great Lawn.

But these were actually Making a Statement for OCCUPY KASSEL, a somewhat shabby Knock Off of Occupy Wall Street, even harking back to the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park, all those years ago in 1967

Some of their Posters & Hand made Art Artifacts were OK, but Kassel is not such a Capital of Capitalism that it really needed to be Occupied.

In the great Schlosspark, some Small Buildings had been constructed, inside of which were some Artworks.

But these Mini Houses were also Artworks: some of them, in fact, were Highly Unusual, though not necessarily the kind of Haven you’d want to build for your Weekends in the Catskills

If I understood the Title of this group of Architectural InventionsEine Nachhaltige Austellung—these little Cottages, which are "Ecologically Designed & Implemented," might just stay in place in the Karlsaue?

This Cottage Show has its very own Booklet, with interesting Color Photos of the Cabins in situ.

One of my Very Favorite Art Installations is that of Ida Apelboorg, complete with her Astonishing
Sandwich Board Signs, advocating Forbidden Pleasures such as Masturbating.

Apelboorg is nothing if not Generous! There are Piles of her Posters for you to take with you, as well as whole Sheets of Texts she has scribbled on.

Rather than describe this Unusual Room in detail, how about some of my INFOTOGRAPHY™ Photos? [Insert Images here!]

As a matter of fact, if you really want to Experience dOCUMENTA (13) without the Expense of actually going to Kassel—check out the dOCUMENTA Website

Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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