Archive: Issue No. 74, October 2003

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Wits School of Arts

Launch of the new Wits School of Arts


David Goldblatt

An image from David Goldblatt's 'Particulars' series


Karin Kortenhorst

Karin Kortenhorst
'Weird about Wire'


Sam Nhlengethwa

Sam Nhlengethwa
It left him cold - the death of Steve Biko, 1990
Collage, pencil and charcoal
69 x 93cm
Courtesy Standard Bank Collection at Wits


Doreen Southwood

Doreen Southwood
The Swimmer, 2003
Painted bronze
175 cm x 42.3cm x 232 cm
Installation view


Stephen Hobbs

Stephen Hobbs
Mirage City #3, 1999/2000
Colour Photograph
67 cm x 100cm


Hentie van der Merwe

Hentie van der Merwe
Suranamese Theatre Performance & Music Group, Sranan-Bromki Dyari, 2003
Colour photograph
20 cm x 20 cm


Finalist for the Arts & Culture Trust Award 2003 - Electronic Media of the Year in Support of the Arts
Design & Maintenance
Web Hosting


One is often disinclined to laugh in the presence of art. Thankfully, however, South Africa has produced a number of artists whose work has the ability to tickle at the funny bone. Some of them - Conrad Botes and the evergreen satirical cartoonist Zapiro - can be seen on a touring exhibition of political graphics, 'Upfront and Personal'. Although not on this show, Steven Cohen is another artist whose work sometimes awkwardly tends towards the absurdly comical. A small photograph in the artist's new Taxi art monograph captures the drama of this comedy. A grouping of three young men, rank and file South Africans, stand mouths agape pointing at the 'spectacular' artist, their bodies convulsed in exaggerated gestures of amusement. The encounter still probably resonates with this small audience, even if its meaning remains totally inscrutable and diametrically opposed to their understanding of art. Which is probably not dissimilar Ed Young's Bruce Gordon hoax - when not the source of heated fulmination or threats of emigration it also caused a bit of a chuckle. But this is all just an elaborate non sequitur. ArtThrob is searching for a guest columnist, someone with an insider's view on the local art community. Stylistically were looking for somebody as fearless as Robert Kirby or Karen Bliksem; we want a personality with an incisive writing style and a tone that would rival Send your pitches and proposals to
Sean O'Toole

Next update: October 15, 2003



'Vuleka' is the re-branded, Sanlam-sponsored competition previously called 'New Signatures', at Art.b; German expressionist Otto Dix is at the SANG; Emma Bedford, head curator at the SANG, presents excerpts of a talk given at the international seminar on art criticism in Dakar; Francine Scialom Greenblatt has a solo show on at the AVA; and Dutch artist Karin Kortenhorst is at US Art Gallery, in Stellenbosch.


Colin Richards exhibits recent drawings, watercolour paintings, text-works, prints and bronze objects at Art on Paper gallery; David Goldblatt presents a series of new colour works that explore the forgotten hinterland of rural South Africa, at the Goodman Gallery; six female students from the Wits School of Arts present their final year exhibition as a group show at MuseumAfrica; and, in Pretoria, Gerhard Marx is at Outlet; Dutch artist Rienke Enghardt is at Minds I.


New venue, artSPACEdurban, presents 'Hypo', a group exhibition by artists, designers and photographers briefed with capturing the unseen or unnoticed Durban; the DAG presents recent acquisitions, including works by Colbert Mashile, Angela Buckland, Andrew Verster and Langa Magwa; experimental architect Anwar Jahangeer is at the NSA; Dutch artist Rienke Enghardt too; and, in Pietermaritzburg, staff and students from the Centre for Visual Arts present work at the Jack Heath Gallery.


Twelve Southern African artists, including Andries Botha, Greg Streak, Jay Pather, Moshekwa Langa, Steven Hobbs, Bernie Searle and Virginia MacKenny, show on the 14th 'Videobrasil International Electronic Art Festival', in São Paulo; 'Sexuality and Death: Aids in contemporary African art' showcases works by Hentie van der Merwe and Sue Williamson; and Jürgen Schadeberg presents new works under the title 'Beyond Apartheid', in Berlin.


Photographic images occupy our critics: David Goldblatt's latest work, on show at the Michael Stevenson Contemporary, focuses on the ravages of asbestos mining; Sue Williamson also offers an opinion on David Goldblatt's new show.; Tracy Lindner Gander's 'AFTERDARK' is a compelling exploration of the landscape of the mind; and Stephen Hobbs' new photographic works transpire from, yet transcend the ordered architectural grid of downtown Johannesburg. Also: Did the judges of the Brett Kebble Art Awards have a lack of understanding of what constitutes new media, asks Carine Zaayman; Andrew Lamprecht's recent print exhibition 'Alterior' was concerned with self-reflexive mocking, says Margot Saffer; the 'Reading Room' is an ever-expanding archive that invites direct engagement with of literature on Africa and by Africans in the hope of wresting control of Africa's imaging from the West; Storm Janse van Rensburg reports on five Durban artists who created a series of engaging temporary installations and soundscapes; and Paul Edmunds reviews Mgcineni Pro Sobopha's show 'Authentic', while offering a brief overview of this year's Vuleka art competition, held at Art.b.


Has the Brett Kebble Art Award helped or hindered the cause of contemporary art in this country? Sue Williamson reflects on the show. With the personality of the patron always threatening to steal the winner's thunder at the Brett Kebble Art Awards, Sean O'Toole writes that cynics might be inclined to state that spectacle once again triumphed over content. But what have the press said? Also: The controversial performance artist Steven Cohen is the subject of the eighth Taxi art book; Wits University recently opened its new interdisciplinary school of the arts, another milestone in the cultural rejuvenation of inner city Johannesburg; and the overall quality of This Day's opening salvo occasioned one commentator to observe that it seemed more of a whimper than bang. Would Marilyn Martin necessarily agree?


What motivates curators and art buyers to purchase artworks? This simple question is the premise for Gallery Choice, a monthly feature that aims to reveal who (public museums/corporate collections) is buying what (artist), and why.

Carol Brown, Director of Durban Art Gallery Director, discusses the acquisition of a new work by Langa Magwa.


Sue Williamson and 599 others dine with Brett Kebble on Art Awards night in Cape Town.


At the age of 39, he became the recipient of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for 1994. Inspired by the twin rhythms of jazz and Jozi, his art is remarkably vibrant and spirited - and a visual reminder of what happened in South Africa before. Sam Nhlengethwa is our featured artist.


'Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti', a group show at New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art, celebrated the life and influence of the Nigerian musician-activist-cult figure known simply as Fela Kuti.


'Hope Box', a collection of projects initiated by Dutch artist Rienke Enghardt, and includes 'Cadavre Exquis', an artist get- together inspired by Surrealist practices. Working collaboratively, Walter van Broekhuizen, Usha Seejarim, Mbongeni Buthelezi and Harry van der Woud created a textual 'Cadavre Exquis' especially for ArtThrob.


A Senegalese arts organisation is offering an artistic exchange programme; the 'Violence Online Festival' is inviting proposals for papers; and there is an opportunity to work as an assistant to a well-established Italian painter in Tuscany.


An art historian takes issue with Thembinkosi Goniwe.

Send us your commentary on this issue.


We are delighted to announce that Hentie van der Merwe is our featured artist. The artist has presented us with a series of four images, a vibrant set of informal group portraits taken in the ethnically and culturally diverse area of southeast Amsterdam.

Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Zwelethu Mthethwa, and Tracey Rose.


Browse through past editions of ArtThrob.


Who writes for ArtThrob and other bits of information.



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ISSUE #74_10.03

Bell-Roberts Contemporary

Goodman Gallery

Michael Stevenson Fine Art

Association for Visual Arts