It is hard to know who or what is the greatest victim of the unedifying Nelson Mandela art print scam: the charities the sale of the prints was supposed to benefit, the reputation of South Africa's great leader, or the credibility of South African art. In OPINION this month, Sue Williamson dolefully looks at the issues.
On the brighter side, no less than six South African-born artists will be showing on the two main exhibitions in the Italian Pavilion and the Arsenale on the 51st Venice Biennale, more than any other country except the United States (9), Spain (8) and Germany(7). One of them is Berni Searle, whose new show opens this month at Michael Stevenson in Cape Town. Searle has been selected to exhibit on the exhibition 'Always a little further', which will be in the Arsenale and is curated by Biennale co-director Rosa Martinez. The five other artists, who will show in the Italian Pavilion, are Robin Rhode, Zwelethu Mthethwa, William Kentridge, Marlene Dumas and Candice Breitz.
Look out next month for our Venice preview special, or if you can't wait, visit that excellent website universe-in-universes.de for their rundown. Also next month: a focus on the Durban art scene and the young artists of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Next update: June 3
Berni Searle, showing soon at the Venice Biennale, opens at Michael Stevenson Contemporary. Egon Tania, and later Sue Williamson show at João Ferreira, Peter Magubane's photographs of Nelson Mandela at the SANG span decades, and at the Bell Roberts, look out for Luan Nel. The AVA hosts Lizza Littlewort, Xolile Mtakatya and Andries Gouws, and Patricia Driscoll exhibits at the Photographers Gallery. Don't miss out on Mary Visser at the UCT Irma Stern Museum either.
At the NSA, photographer Peter Mackenzie's 'Vying Posie' (looking at the place) focuses on his childhood home of Wentworth, and at artSpace, top DIT sculpture student Mondli Mdanda reflects on poverty and homelessness, amongst other issues, in 'Trespass'.
'Africa Remix', reputedly the largest show ever of contemporary art from Africa to be shown in Europe, moves to the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In Baltimore, USA, Siemon Allen shows on 'Patriot', which investigates concepts of nationalism. In Germany, the idea of the heroic is explored in the Jan Hoet-curated show '(my private)Heroes' on which Hentie van der Merwe exhibits.
The scandal of the uncontrolled issue of the Nelson Mandela art prints continues to garner major press coverage - Sue Williamson considers the whole mess from the point of view of art.
Kim Gurney finds that 'Subject to Change' at the SANG lends itself to an interesting analysis of shifts in the gallery's acquisition policy over the years. Mikhael Subotzky's latest exhibition 'Die Vier Hoeke' at Pollsmoor Prison was much more than just a visual experience, writes Kim Gurney. Every sense was primed to the broader context in which his images were made.
In Gauteng, in the first of a two-part project, Sean Slemon marries his passions for mapping with his etching and sculpture skills. Robyn Sassen investigates the first leg of his show at Outlet in Pretoria.
This year's Dance Umbrella was imbued with references to visual culture. Robyn Sassen offers a reading of one of the pieces presented. She also reviews Zhan Warren's latest performance 'eatmyheartout', a sensitive extrapolation on personal secrets couched in a universal language.
Minister of Culture Pallo Jordan offers public condolences on the death of veteran painter Gregoire Boonzaaier. Business Day/BASA announce the winners of their annual awards to the most effective supporters of culture; photographer Jacqueline Hassink lectures at Wits.
Sue Williamson reports back from Egypt, where an artists' workshop leads up to the 'Imagining the Book II' Biennale at the Alexandria Library.
Tim Hopwood writes up the career and intentions of photographer and Rhodes Photography lecturer Brent Meistre.
Carine Zaayman visits www.liquidfridge.co.za, a beautiful website showcasing some of South Africa's young animation and design talent..
Carine Zaayman's 'Adventures in information activism' explores a range of online creative environments. All of the projects she examines give voice to the concerns of its users and the utilisation of publicly accessible digital media.
This month's opportunities include a call to video artists for two international exhibitions.
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