Documenta is an exhibition of international contemporary art held in Kassel in Germany every five years and considered one of the world’s most important art exhibitions

Joseph Beuys, ‘The End of the Twentieth Century’ 1983–5
Joseph Beuys
The End of the Twentieth Century 1983–5
© DACS, 2018
William Kentridge, ‘Felix in Exile’ 1994
William Kentridge
Felix in Exile 1994
© William Kentridge
Pablo Picasso, ‘Head of a Young Boy’ 1945
Pablo Picasso
Head of a Young Boy 1945
© Succession Picasso/DACS 2018

Founded by the artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 it was originally held every four years, and from 1972 every five years.

The first documenta featured, among others, Pablo Picasso, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Max Beckmann. It was created in order to herald a new era after the reactionary aesthetic values of the Nazi period. Sometimes called the Hundred Day Museum, it appoints a new director for every exhibition and the format is often re-invented.

See also

Tate Paper

To Be Continued: Periodic Exhibitions (documenta, For Example): Landmark Exhibitions Issue

In this paper the author reflects on the early history of the dOCUMENTA exhibitions held every five years in Kassel ...


Audio Arts: Volume 17 No 3 & 4

This issue of recordings from documenta X and Sculpture Projects in Münster 1997 includes contributions from Marina Abramović and Dan Graham


Audio Arts: Volume 20 No 4 & Volume 21 No 1

This cassette, recorded at documenta 11, contains interviews with  Carolee Schneemann, Ann-Sofi Siden, Liesbeth & Angelique Raeven, Jules Olitski, Charlemagne ...