Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Learning from Athens"

Documenta 14 opens in Athens, Greece on April 8 and overlaps (for 36 days) with the festival's traditional Marshall Plan-ned capital, Kassel, Germany, where it opens on June 10 and closes on September 17.

When it was announced that Documenta 14 would expand its field of operations to Athens I was hoping its program would include the participation of Athens-born architect Alexander Tzonis who, together with historian Liane Lefaivre, developed their concept of "critical regionalism" and inspired a long-running conversation of scholars, from Kenneth Frampton to bell hooks to Judith Butler and Gayatri Spivak, but I did not see Tzonis and Lefaivre on D14's just-released list of "Venues and Institutional Partners in Athens."

Documenta cannot be all things to all people, of course, but when what some have called the "Olympics of Contemporary Art" announces its program with additional catch-phrases like "Universes in Universe" and "Learning from Athens", you'd think, right? I would love to see a Tzonis and Lefaivre-hosted forum that included Butler and Spivak revisiting their Who Sings the Nation-State? (2010) conversation in light of the refugee beach-landings that were everywhere in the news a couple years ago. That and a new print of Z (1969).

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