Documenta appoints musical producer as interim manager amid budget debacle

Wolfgang Orthmayr to replace Annette Kulenkampff, who left before her contract ended

The Fridericianum is the main venue of Documenta Documenta

Documenta announced that it has appointed Wolfgang Orthmayr as interim managing director from 1 April after Annette Kulenkampff, his beleaguered predecessor, left her post amid a budget fiasco at the company that manages the German contemporary art exhibition.

Orthmayr, 58, was previously the commercial director at Stage Entertainment GmbH, a producer of musicals. The city of Kassel, which hosts Documenta every five years, said Orthmayr’s appointment is only temporary and in the long term it plans to recruit someone “with relevant experience and competence in the field of cultural management”.

Kulenkampff left the post a year ahead of schedule, “in mutual agreement” with Kassel and the state of Hesse after the 2017 edition of Documenta notched up a deficit of €5.4m. For the first time in its 62-year history, the exhibition was equally spread over two locations; Kassel and Athens. Overspending in Athens caused the budget shortfall and forced Kassel and Hesse to step in with emergency loan guarantees.

“We are very happy to have Wolfgang Orthmayr as an interim managing director,” said Christian Geselle, the mayor of Kassel.