Szeemann, I Will Personally Lead Baudrillard Through Documenta XII
Jean Baudrillard, who died in March 2007, produced a diverse group of writings on art. Despite the enormous impact of his ideas on the art world of the 1980s and 1990s -- from theories of hyperreality to notions of the "conspiracy of art" -- some have questioned his relevance for contemporary art practices. Revisiting Joseph Beuys's production of Dürer, ich führe Baader + Meinhof durch die Dokumenta V, I take up the notion of the "philosopher-terrorist" and its implications for contemporary art practice, as well as questions of the social value for the visitor to the large art exhibition. This allows for a consideration, on one hand, of Baudrillard's assertion that the "work of art no longer has any privilege as a singular object" and, on the other hand, his questions about the way that art makes "use of its own disappearance and the disappearance of its object." These questions will be examined not only in the context of Beuys and his work at Documenta V in 1972, but also in the light of the ideas of Harald Szeemann (who died suddenly in 2005) and the dramatic changes he introduced at that exhibition.
Keywords: Jean Baudrillard, Joseph Beuys, Harald Szeemann, Documenta V, Documenta XII
Dr. Leslie Curtis
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art History, John Carroll University