OPEN STUDIOS: Documenta Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism – Documenta Fifteen

Sunday, August 28 at 12 PM ET, 11 AM CT, 9 AM PT, 6 PM Western Europe, 7 PM Israel. Zoom session

The Jewish Art Salon is pleased to invite you to a compelling program about the international scandal over anti-Semitic artworks at the Documenta Fifteen art exhibition in Kassel, Germany.

Ben Schachter, Professor of Visual Art, St. Vincent College, will moderate a discussion of the art in question and the conflict between issues of anti-Semitism in the art world and protection of free speech.

Dorit Jordan Dotan, who visited Documenta Fifteen, will share her observations and a work of art she created in response to the experience.

Completing the artists’ panel are Dorene Schwartz-Weitz, Chana Wiesenthal Elias and Selena Rojhani, who will each share their art and insights about the topic.

Curators: Dorit Jordan Dotan and Judith Joseph.

Zoom info will be sent to our email list 4 hours before the event. If you are not on our list and would like to subscribe, here is the newsletter subscription link.


Anti-semitism at the Documenta 15: the line between freedom of speech and hate speech.

The Documenta is one of the world’s major exhibitions; it takes place every 5 years in Germany. It was founded by curator Arnold Bode in 1955 to rehabilitate the German cultural scene that had atrophied after the censorship of the Nazi years.

This year’s exhibit has been scandalized by an anti-semitic image.

The current “Documenta 15” invited participants predominantly from outside major cultural and economic centers. Artworks from the perspective of the so-called “global south” are involved with more than 1,500 participating artists.

An Indonesian collective included a banner with an image of an apparently Orthodox Jewish man with fangs, venomous red eyes, and SS bolts on his hat. The banner was swiftly covered, then removed. This was just the first of a series of incidents.

It sparked an international debate about the line between freedom of speech and hate speech.

The collective sort of apologized, the Documenta managing director was fired, and a great deal of trust in the exhibition has been lost. 

Other Documenta incidents in the news:

Join our panel discussion Sunday Augustus 28th at 12pm ET for a lively discussion between three artists and the moderator.

The JAS Open Studios Program Series is supported by Advisor Yona Verwer and team members Cheselyn Amato and Chana Wiesenthal Elias.

Graphic and image by Dorit Jordan Dotan.

This program is made possible with generous support by CANVAS.