As Naomi Rea reports in Artnet News, a public prosecutor in Kassel has cleared former documenta CEO Annette Kulenkampff of financial impropriety in the wake of her rocky tenure. The fourteenth edition of Documenta, held in Kassel and Athens in 2017, ended up with a $6.3 million deficit, and Kulenkampff was widely blamed for the budget shortfall, with some even accusing her of criminal conduct. But as Rea explains, the prosecutor found no evidence for such conduct:
Over the last year, the former CEO received the lion’s share of criticism for the deficit and its fallout. But on Thursday morning, prosecutors cleared her of responsibility on several fronts.
First, it found that the decision to organize documenta 14 in two cities was always going to result in budget overruns—and that was made clear to the supervisory board. According to the prosecutor, Kulenkampff “repeatedly” pointed out to the board that the ambitious two-location enterprise would exceed original budget projections, a fact also confirmed by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH (PwC) last year.
The prosecutor further concluded that Kulenkampff consistently acted for the good of documenta and did nothing to deliberately endanger its funds. The prosecutor said that that the contracts signed by the management served to help documenta 14 achieve the greatest possible success, pointing out that cost-cutting measures would have led to a decline in visitors—and greater losses.
You can read the full Artnet News article here.
Image of Annette Kulenkampff via The Art Newspaper.