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

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  • Joseph Beuys, 'The End of the Twentieth Century' 1983-5
    Joseph Beuys
    The End of the Twentieth Century 1983-5
    Basalt, clay and felt
    displayed: 900 x 7000 x 12000 mm
    Purchased with assistance from Edwin C. Cohen and Echoing Green 1991© DACS, 2009
  • William Kentridge, 'Felix in Exile' 1994
    William Kentridge
    Felix in Exile 1994
    Animation film
    Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1998© William Kentridge
  • Pablo Picasso, 'Head of a Young Boy' 1945
    Pablo Picasso
    Head of a Young Boy 1945
    Lithograph on paper
    image: 307 x 227 mm
    Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994© Succession Picasso/DACS 2002

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.