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Ian Wallace: The First documenta, 1955

Ian Wallace
Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
Artists' Books
18 × 25 × 0.5 cm

Number 002 in the series: Documenta 13: 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken (100 Notes – 100 Thoughts)

In 1955, the first documenta took place in Kassel. Originally planned as a one-time exhibition, it now takes place every five years and has become a primary periodic moment of exhibition and reflection on contemporary art. In this 1987 lecture, held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Ian Wallace sheds light on the first documenta. After World War II, the exhibition followed the aim to represent and rehabilitate those artists who had been vilified as “degenerate” by the National Socialist regime. The first documenta is a mirror and protagonist of the postwar cultural and political climate. Under the guidance of Arnold Bode, and with the help of Werner Haftmann, it has notably contributed to what has been called “the triumphal march of abstraction,” which helped West-Germany to reintegrate itself into European modernity.

  1. Ian Wallace: The First documenta, 1955

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