German museum cancels curator's show for pro-Palestine post
According to the museum director, the artist put the museum “in a situation that the museum might be considered to support antisemitic tendencies and voices that question the very right of existence of the state Israel.”
The Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany, canceled part of a planned group show after a curator’s engagement with pro-Palestine content on social media. Anaïs Duplan, who is a writer, professor, and curator, posted screenshots of an email on Instagram sent from Museum Folkwang director Peter Gorschlüter stating that the institution decided to “suspend” his “collaboration.”
The email states, “We noticed that you shared and commented on a number of posts on your Instagram channel in the light of the current situation in Israel and Gaza. From our perspective some of these posts are unacceptable. These posts do not acknowledge the terroristic attack of [Hamas] and consider the Israeli military occupation in Gaza a genocide.”
According to Gorschlüter, Duplan put the museum “in a situation that the museum might be considered to support antisemitic tendencies and voices that question the very right of existence of the state Israel.”
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Called “We is Future”, the planned show was due to open on November 24 and was expected to be attended by artists and curators to propose “historic and current” ideas “for alternative forms of living together” regarding issues such as climate change, the housing crisis, etc...
A Museum Folkwang representative told ARTnews, “In autumn 2022, Museum Folkwang has invited Anaïs Duplan to curate a chapter on 'Afrofuturism' for [the exhibition]. The curator, author, and professor of literature, who lives in the USA, has recognized expertise in this subject area. Since 18 October 2023, various posts relating to the current situation in Israel and Gaza have been shared and commented on by Duplan on his Instagram page. On 10 November, a post appeared on this account calling for support for the BDS network. The German Bundestag has categorized this network as anti-Semitic.”
'Struggles for collective wellbeing'
In response, Duplan took to Instagram that the priorities were “to ensure that any artists in the future—especially BIPOC artists—who are considering working with [the museum] have full transparency regarding their politics, not just in relation to the war on Palestine, but also their very fraught labor practices.”
Duplan continued in a separate post on Tuesday: “It should go without saying that Afrofuturism and liberation struggles around the world go hand in hand, as do Afrofuturism and antisemitism, Afrofuturism and islamophobia, and Afrofuturism and all other struggles for collective wellbeing.”
This comes a day after Indian poet and critic Ranjit Hoskote quit the committee responsible for selecting an artistic director for Documenta 16, the 2027 edition of the prestigious art festival, as he was criticized by the organization for signing a letter that compared Zionism and Hindu nationalism.
Documenta claimed the letter was “anti-Semitic” and announced a further discussion with the poet is due.
Published on e-Flux, Hoskote said in his resignation letter, “It is clear to me that there is no room, in this toxic atmosphere, for a nuanced discussion of the issues at stake.” That same day, Israeli artist Bracha L. Ettinger resigned from the committee for what she called “dark times” in her home country.
Yesterday, Lisson Gallery announced its intentions to pause an Ai Weiwei show after the artist posted on social media regarding the military campaign in Gaza.
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