During a recent interview with Berni Searle, who is currently exhibiting on two shows in Cape Town, the artist made a pertinent remark. "I find that the harshest criticism relating to my work often seems to come from South Africa." If you read Guy Willoughby's assessment of her SANG show, 'Float', published in ThisDay
(February 13), you'll get a sense of what she means. Willoughby went for the jugular, describing Searle as an "elaborate hoax, an attempt on a huge scale to flummox the public with a significance that isn't really there." Personally, I thought the denouncement rather poorly informed, but this not why I mention it. What struck me was the vigour Willoughby demonstrated in challenging the prevailing orthodoxy on Searle as an important artist. It again raises the issue of critical writing on visual art, of art critics versus sales reps. (Not that I for one moment bought the accusation that the entire credulous art industry in late capitalist society is to blame for the observation of cliché to assume vast significance - well not in Searle's case.) And as for Berni, the laughter that often punctuates her talk can be highly infectious. "One has to get over it, and take from it what you think could be valid and move on." Nicely said Berni.
Watch out for 'The Pink Issue'. Andrew Lamprecht will edit this next update, which proposes to look at gay and lesbian identity in South African art.
Next update: March 3
Berni Searle exhibits a new collection of work including a projection and photographic images in a show called 'Vapour'; Ronnie Levitan exhibits a three-part photographic exhibition; Sanlam is showcasing the artworks it has acquired in its collection during 2003; 'Exchange view on...' is the title of a video exhibition curated by Ed Young, at Michaelis.
Sam Nhlengethwa dips into his personal photo archive for inspiration, at Goodman Gallery; Gordon Froud hosts three shows, including that of CJ Morkel; Froud also curates a show at ArtSpace, featuring Wayne Barker, Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi, Keith Dietrich and Collen Maswanganyi; the Johannesburg Art Gallery presents painting, video and digital works by two Eritrean artists; John Moore is at Merely Mortal; and Robert Hodgins, Wopko Jensma, and Dan Rakgoathe are some of the names at Warren Siebrits.
The Cupboard Gallery, Home will be exhibiting various pieces of art by Lungelo Gumede; Mozambique-born Ezequeil Mabote is on at the Menzi Mcunu Art Gallery, BAT Centre, where he pays tribute to the oral tradition from which he comes; 'Up Front and Personal' presents three decades of UK graphics and design, at DAG; Giuseppe Lanzi, presents a photographic exposition of migration around the world, at KwaMuhle Museum; and the NSA shows work by Gabisile Nkosi, Sicelo Ziqubu and Khwezi Gule.
'Africa Comics', which includes Conrad Botes and Lorcan White, visit Brussles; Candice Breitz shows 14-channel video installation entitled 'Becoming' at Sonnabend, New York; and Ed Young, and France's Sophie Solnychkine curate a two-country video exhibition.
Place - both geographical and psychic - is integral to Searle's work, says Kim Gurney in her review of Berni Searle's first major South African retrospective, at the SANG. Sue Williamson reviews Mandy Lee Jandrell, at Joao Ferreira. Zachary Yorke outlines the complex issues raised by Ed Young's recent one-night only solo show, titled 'Asshole'. Yorke also brings a measure of insight to bear on Vuyisa Nyamende's exhibition, titled 'Japan'. Also: 'Suspended Disbelief', Brendhan Dickerson rude deflation of society's bloated egotism, is a coherent body of compelling work revealing a confident satirical voice, says Kim Gurney. Suzie Copperthwaite reviews the latest South African Art Information Directory (04/05).
David Brodie and Brenton Maart have resigned from the JAG; Robin Rhode and Zwelethu Mthethwa are the only two South African artists singled out in a magazine list of 100 leading global artists; Kim Gurney reports on this year's Cape Town Festival; Aryan Kaganof is featured in a new book that looks at experimental films in the Netherlands; the District Six Museum will host a provocative discussion about future possibilities for carnival in Cape Town; and Art of Line is Mario Pissarra's new monthly column that no offers apologies for tackling anyone big or anything important. Focusing on transformation - tedious for some, tantalising for others - Art of Line is here to scratch the itch.
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.
Stefan Hundt, curator of the Sanlam art collection, discusses two recent acquisitions: works by Durant Sihlali and Willem Boshoff.
Sue Williamson's diary: two more weeks in the artist's life.
Paul Edmunds is on a short sabbatical at the moment. In his absence, we thought it opportune to point out his achievements, not as our Cape Town contributing editor, but as a particularly rigorous artist. Often preoccupied with re-using and re-inventing the common detritus of consumer society, his work possesses, to quote the critic Tracey Murinik, a "reverberating aesthetic".
'Near-Digital SA: Interventionist Influence', Carine Zaayman and Nathaniel Stern in conversation, on Rhizome.org. Also, the 7th annual Design Indaba conference is almost upon us. We suggest a look-see to find out who is coming to speak at this year's event.
Carine Zaayman pays a visit to the Walker Art Centre, following which she visits Japan.
A section devoted to calls for submissions and proposals; invitations to participate; studios to let; art auctions and charity benefits.
This update: ArtThrob is planning a special issue in April; be a part of it. Also, we are looking for a candidate to fill the position of Johannesburg Editor, which is currently vacant.
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Penny Siopis is the latest artist to join our Editions for ArtThrob programme. Her specially produced work is a distillation of her most recent work, from her Shame series.
Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Hentie van der Merwe, and Tracey Rose.
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