documenta 12 - Face to Face with Modern Art

blinc eG - Blended Learning Institution's cooperative

Project Team:

Tanja Wehr


The project tries to give laymen an understanding of contemporary art. Every five years North-Hessen's provincial capital Kassel hosts one of the most important and largest exhibitions of modern and contemporary art: the documenta. It is the so called museum for 100 days. In 2007 the twelfth documenta takes place with over 100 artists from all over the world. The participants in the project get a mixture between excursion to the exhibition, information through lecture, guided tour, discussions and written material. Afterwards there is an evaluation to see if the stance on and the knowledge concerning contemporary art has changed.

Target Group and Context:

Every person that is interested in art.

The youngest group member was 11 years old

the oldest over 70.

Group size:

The groups had 6 to 30 persons.

There were no special needs or particularities.


The documenta was founded 1955. The main reason was the censorship of contemporary art through the Third Reich. They forbid all artworks that were modern and so called "€œbastardly". Bastardly meant abstract, expressionistic or impressionistic. All those artworks were destroyed by the Nazis. The documenta wanted to show what had happened in the development of art during the period the German nation was excluded from . The exhibition wanted to close this gap. This is still one of the aims of the documenta. The exhibition wants to show modern ideas and the development of contemporary art with the background that a lot of contemporary art has a political setting. Through the aesthetic way of art the visitors of the documenta get a closer idea of political, economical or ecological grievances of the different nations. Still the public acceptance of abstract and modern art is low. The project wants to increase the acceptance and the comprehension of art.


  • To clear prejudices concerning contemporary art
  • To explain how modern art has originated
  • To show the way from antiquity to our days for a better understanding
  • To give more information about political backgrounds of the nations also of Germany
  • To take the fear of talking about modern art and
  • To give more self-confidence (A lot of people think they are not intelligent enough for modern art because they don’t understand or they don’t like the artworks.)

Informal Learning Activities:

We had active group discussions about likes and dislikes, experiences and observations the members made through their day on the documenta.

Handouts with articles, maps, additional information.

One day tour to the exhibition (8 hours).


There was developed a evaluation questionnaire.

Leading questions where:

Would you be more aware of contemporary art in the future than before the project? Has your stance on contemporary art changed because of the event?

Has your knowledge concerning contemporary art changed because of the event?


All participants of the evaluation said that they got a better understanding of contemporary art because of the project.

The information about the development of art from the antiquity to our days caused more tolerance and acceptance of abstract art. Furthermore most participants would like to have more information about art in general.