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Archive: Issue No. 42, February 2001

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.


Something to ask? A comment to make on ArtThrob? Email us at All queries answered by Paul Edmunds, Feedback Editor.

From: Marilyn Martin
Subject: No room for Steve McQueen
Date received: February 10

I would like to respond to your article on ArtThrob entitled 'No room at the SANG for Steve McQueen' in order to put the record straight. Indeed there was room for him. The South African National Gallery (Sang) exhibition committee welcomed the possibility of screening the video works of the Turner Prizewinner for 1999 and made a space available. The curator, Tom Mulcaire, was not satisfied and asked for another. This particular exhibition space had been allocated months before for the exhibition, curated by Nicolaas Vergunst of the Sang, 'Hoerikwaggo Images of Table Mountain'. This major show, years in the planning and with substantial sponsorship, could neither be reduced nor compromised. We offered the Annexe building, but preparing it adequately would have cost a lot of money. We suggested that the work be shown in 2001, but this did not suit the artist.

We did not turn down the proposal; on the contrary we did everything possible to accommodate the work. The curator himself turned down the venue and decided on another that was available at short notice and much more suitable than the spaces the Sang could offer at that time. Time was a critical factor. As the national art museum, we plan many months - in some cases years - in advance. I doubt that any curator would approach a national institution abroad two months before an exhibition opens. In your article, however, planning is synonymous with 'rigidity'. We really do object to Mulcaire's comments about serving the 'local community'. Our track record speaks volumes and we are conducting visitor surveys to improve our service as a public institution. Did he do market research to establish that the 'local community' would rather see McQueen's work than an exhibition of Table Mountain?

It would be interesting to have information regarding the 'astonishment of many in the art world', as no one has communicated such disappointment to us. Perhaps this is because an excellent venue and context, which were of prime importance to the artist, were found elsewhere. All who wanted to see the videos must be grateful for the opportunity offered by the Michaelis Gallery. As for Emma Bedford publicly disassociating herself from the Sang, I have not seen such a statement. No decision was taken by the Sang not to show McQueen's work. Tom Mulcaire went looking for, and found a more suitable venue than what the Sang could offer at short notice and within a specific time frame.

With best wishes

From: Sherry Apostol
Subject: Fatima Mendonca
Date received: January 31

I am trying to contact Fatima Mendonca. If anyone has an email address or tel/ fax number for her, please could you send it to me. I am organizing a group exhibition in Berkeley, California in mid- February 2001 which includes an installation by Ms. Mendonca titled O'Circo.

Sherry Apostol

Unfortunately I don't have any contact details for you, but hopefully someone else will be able to help.

From: Mary Calder
Subject: Theunis de Jongh Query
Date received: January 27

Dear Sir,

I have just inherited a Theunis de Jongh paining and would like more information on this painter. Who do I get in touch with in the above regard?

Mary Calder

More commonly called 'Tinus', Marthinus de Jongh was born in Amsterdam in 1885 and died in Bloemfontein in 1942. He is most well-known for his mountainous landscapes, more often than not incorporating a Cape Dutch gabled farmhouse. His works are in numerous collections including the South African National Gallery ((021) 465-1628) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. There is apparently a Tinus de Jongh memorial gallery in Stellenbosch although I can't seem to find their number. You could try any of the above institutions or even one of the large auction houses such as Sotheby's for some information.

From: Uwe Pfaff
Subject: to hit or not to hit
Date received: February 01

Call me blond if you wish. I don't seem to be able to find a counter for this site. It would be interesting to see how many hits it gets. Do you have unofficial statistics?

Uwe Pfaff

The answer to this is that we do not have a counter on the site, but we do have access to accurate web stats ourselves. The hit rate climbs every month, and in January 2001 topped the 40 000 mark for the first time with 43 454 hits for the month. About half of these are from South African readers, and the rest are from all over the world. These stats also tell us which articles are read the most, and reveal that people go back through the archives right to the beginning of ArtThrob in search of the information they need all the time.

From: Yoshimi Kanazawa
Subject: Artthrob
Date received: January 22

I would be grateful if you could let me know who is the funding body of ArtThrob, as I am doing research on this site.

Yours sincerely
Yoshimi Kanazawa

At present, the host server, MWeb covers about half the costs, and the balance is covered by the National Arts Council. The National Arts Council funding will soon come to an end, and we are currently seeking new funders.

From: Sabine Drey
Subject: Nelson Mandela Museum
Date received: January 19

We are a German architectural review and we are very interested in publishing the Nelson Mandela Museum project, so it would be very nice of you if you could help us finding out the contact address of the architects who organized this project (Nina Cohen and Hilton Judin) or of the project leaders who could send us some plans or other construction details.

Sabine Drey

Sabine, Nina and Hilton are currently relocating to Johannesburg from Cape Town, so I can only provide you with an email address -

From: Colin Stuhfelder
Subject: The effect on contemporary art and masculinity of the AIDS epidemic
Date received: January 18

I'm a PhD student at John Moores University in Liverpool, UK in the Social Art History & Theory school. I'm being funded by the university to study the response of African masculinity in contemporary art to AIDS. I would like to hear from artists, male or female, on the effect they believe AIDS has on the representation of masculinity. Or anyone's opinion, anyone who knows anything about AIDS driven art or who simply wants to drop me a line with any information.

Some ideas may be that as AIDS can be claimed as a disease that is the result of masculine virility. And with virility being an important aspect in the creation of masculinity, that this may permanently alter how we view its representation. Or that as AIDS reaches the horrific levels that the statistics show, the energy that has gone into the creation of Apartheid art, Famine and War art will be redirected. Won't there need to be a strong African response to this rather than the West producing art etc to represent the Continent? I am really open to hear your suggestions or links to other sources which my own searches may not have shown.

This PhD is in its infancy so any help will be gratefully accepted.

Thank you,
Colin Stuhlfelder

Colin, I can suggest you look around, using ArtThrob's search engine for anything about Hentie van der Merwe who has addressed these ideas in his work. Visitors to the site, I'm sure also, will be happy to respond to your questions.