January 27, 2020

Documenta Archive Director Birgit Jooss Steps Down

Birgit Jooss. Courtesy of Documenta.

KASSEL, GERMANY—Birgit Jooss, the head of Documenta Archiv, which was established to preserve the enormous amount of material related to the quinquennial’s past editions, will step down as director of the Kassel-based institution in February 2020. According to Monopol, Jooss cited her family as the reason for her departure. She has also accepted a position at Munich’s Central Institute for Art History.

Prior to joining Documenta Archiv in 2016, Jooss directed the German Art Archive in the Germanisches National Museum in Nuremberg from 2007 until 2015, when she became head of the archive at Berlin’s Academy of Arts. She is the author of Living Pictures: Physical Limitations of Works of Art in the Goethe Period (Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin; 1999) and is an editor of the forthcoming book Bauhaus/Documenta: Vision and Brand (Spector Books; April 2020).

Sabrina Schormann, the general director of Documenta and the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, praised Jooss’s achievements as an archivist and her “significant contributions to making Documenta Archiv future-oriented.” Martin Groh, current head of the research department, will serve as the archive’s interim director.

Founded by Arnold Bode in 1961, Documenta Archiv houses approximately 1.4 million archival items, including 100,000 publications; 5,000 films, videos, and audio recordings; and 60,000 photos related to Documenta 1 through 13. The next iteration of the prestigious contemporary art event will take place in 2022.

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