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Infancy, History and Rehabilitation at documenta 12

Infancy, History and Rehabilitation at documenta 12 SAGE Publications, Inc.2008DOI: 10.1177/14704129080070020505 Anthony Spira Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, AnthonySpira@whitechapel.org] Documenta 12 was dedicated to children. Literally, to the curators Ruth Noack and Roger Buergel's two children (Charlotte and Kasimir) and also, figuratively, to a childlike perspective that is intuitive, unadulterated and unmediated. Before it opened, the content of the exhibition was closely guarded in order to prevent preconceptions and to heighten its actual impact. Two artists' names from the letters A–Z (Adria and Zmijewski), as if from a child's alphabet book, were reluctantly released to the press. In an introductory talk held at the Royal College of Art, London, the curators revealed little about their project but expressed a desire to resist the patronizing, pedagogic demands made on art. A number of the traditionally popular guided tours of documenta (there were 7,635 of them in 2007), apparently booked up to two years in advance, were to be led by children and to last a minimum of two hours.1 Although not groundbreaking in itself, this gesture sought to reverse the `educator–educated' relationship and to frustrate the `bourgeois' habit of consuming pre-packaged, mediated, second-hand experiences. It aimed in part to create http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Visual Culture SAGE

Infancy, History and Rehabilitation at documenta 12

Abstract

Infancy, History and Rehabilitation at documenta 12 SAGE Publications, Inc.2008DOI: 10.1177/14704129080070020505 Anthony Spira Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, AnthonySpira@whitechapel.org] Documenta 12 was dedicated to children. Literally, to the curators Ruth Noack and Roger Buergel's two children (Charlotte and Kasimir) and also, figuratively, to a childlike perspective that is intuitive, unadulterated and unmediated. Before it opened, the content of the exhibition was closely guarded in order to prevent preconceptions and to heighten its actual impact. Two artists' names from the letters A–Z (Adria and Zmijewski), as if from a child's alphabet book, were reluctantly released to the press. In an introductory talk held at the Royal College of Art, London, the curators revealed little about their project but expressed a desire to resist the patronizing, pedagogic demands made on art. A number of the traditionally popular guided tours of documenta (there were 7,635 of them in 2007), apparently booked up to two years in advance, were to be led by children and to last a minimum of two hours.1 Although not groundbreaking in itself, this gesture sought to reverse the `educator–educated' relationship and to frustrate the `bourgeois' habit of consuming pre-packaged, mediated, second-hand experiences. It aimed in part to create
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