Head of German Museum That Canceled Candice Breitz Show Over Gaza Statements Quits

The leader of the Saarland Museum, the German institution that drew controversy when it canceled a Candice Breitz show last November, has quit her post, according to reports in the German media.

The Breitz show, a presentation devoted to a video installation about sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa, was abruptly called off amid the artist’s statements on Gaza.

Breitz, who is Jewish, had written on social media that it was “possible to support the Palestinian struggle for basic rights and human dignity—including liberation from decades of oppression—while unequivocally condemning the horrific carnage exacted on 7 October, and the cruel stranglehold that Hamas exerts on Gazan civilians (to the advantage of Israel’s sadist leaders). Hamas is not Palestine.”

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She described the cancellation of the exhibition as “deeply antisemitic” and said the decision was rooted in a culture in which “many Germans feel absolutely justified in violently condemning Jewish positions that are not consistent with their own, in their zeal to confirm their own dedication to anti-antisemitic principles.” Many others claimed the Saarland Museum had censored Breitz.

The Saarland Museum in Saarbrücken denied that the cancellation was antisemitic, and said that it “will not provide a platform to any artist who qualifies the exercise of the right to self-defense by the State of Israel in response to a cowardly and brutal terrorist attack as genocide, who justifies the terrorist attack with the long-term conflict-ridden coexistence of Palestinians and Israelis.”

Now, Andrea Jahn, director of the Saarland Museum and art and culture director of the Saarland Cultural Heritage Foundation, is set to vacate her post in April, more than a year before she was previously set to do so. According to the Saarbrücken culture ministry, the early departure came amid “different opinions about the further development of the foundation and its facilities.”

Jahn said in a statement that she would now “look to the future” and relocate to Freiburg with her family. Her statement also included a lengthy defense of the cancelation of the Breitz show, which she labeled a “correct” decision.

“It remains incredibly saddening and highly distressing to watch ongoing developments in the so-called ‘Breitz Affair,’ knowing that Saarland has done nothing to deserve the farce that is continuing to unfold around the cancellation of my exhibition late last year; a cancellation that was the result of poorly informed, hasty and damaging decision-making by individuals who really should have known better,” Breitz said in a statement.

Breitz accused Christine Streichert-Clivot, culture minister of the Saarland region, of being the first German culture minister since the Nazi era of “to preside over the cancellation of a major exhibition by a Jewish artist at a German museum since the Nazi era, without legal grounds or due process, and with utter disregard for the German Constitution.

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