This month sees things getting back to normal a bit, after the flurry of activity in March and April: between Spier Contemporary and the Joburg Art Fair, art lovers could have been forgiven for feeling art was almost as important as sport, for a while at least...
As the events at the major institutions recede from our view for a bit, it is the developments in the realm of the smaller galleries that seem to be capturing attention. Artheat commented recently on the issue of gentrification, as highlighted by the shift of many Cape Town galleries to the previously-marginalised area of Woodstock. In Johannesburg the phenomenon seems to be less of a shift and more of a flowering of numerous new galleries. In NEWS we look at the opening of Artspace in Parkwood, and in an interview I speak to Ricardo Fornoni, curator of the newbie Resolution Gallery, about his endeavours. One hopes that this augers well for art’s growth despite the difficult economic times predicted ahead.
This month we try something
new: I have compiled a series of SHORT CUTS, brief critical engagements
with a shows that haven’t received the attention of a full review. These
are all Jozi shows for now, but if the format proves successful we will
expand it to include the other areas.
NEXT UPDATE: June 8.
The augurs are pointing to a big month for Cape Town. The local art-eratti will be checking to see if bigger is better when Michael Stevenson's new premises opens in Woodstock with the latest curated exhibition 'Disguise: the art of attracting and deflecting attention'. With stars like Candice Breitz and Yinka Shonibare in the line-up it promises to live up to the hype. After winning the Mercedes Benz award earlier this year, Kevin Brand will show us what he's up to at the Bell-Roberts. Peter Schütz and Walter Oltmann team up at Goodman. And Christian Nerf and Douglas Gimberg continue their iconoclastic collaboration at the AVA.
Pieter Hugo makes his presence felt this month with his Standard Bank Young Artist show 'Messina/Musina' at the Standard Bank Gallery and a body of new work entitled 'Nollywood' at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary. David Brodie looks at artists who embrace the 'logic of forensic science' for his show 'Aftermath', and Peter Magubane continues earlier photographic concerns with cultural practises in 'Rites of Passage' at the University of Johannesburg Gallery.
The Bank Gallery reopens with a new look and a double act with an exhibition by Stephen Hobbs who shows simultaneously at the KZNSA. Durban artist Dineo Bopape, now living in Amsterdam, is also showing some quirky new works which were previewed at the Joburg Art Fair. Johan Thom also shows at the KZNSA.
Pieter Hugo shows at Galerie bertrand & gruner in Switzerland, while Guy Tillim opens at Haunch of Venison in Zürich. '2MOVE: Ireland' features William Kentridge and Zen Marie and Isolde Krams shows at artSPACE Berlin.
In Johannesburg, Michael Smith spoke to Ricardo Fornoni, owner/curator of Resolution Gallery about his gallery, its intentions and the importance of good design.
This month ArtThrob pilots Short Cuts, a series of concise synopses of a number of shows that occurred in the previous month. This month the focus is exclusively on Johannesburg, but ArtThrob hopes to expand this to include other regions in the future.
William Scarbrough's 'Stitches' comprises jarring juxtapositions of images culled from the media over the last 12 years. In these digtally composited and physically sutured works, the viewer is exposed to thoughts and images they would rather avoid, and the work itself becomes a traumatic event, contends Tavish McIntosh. Brett Murray's 'Crocodile Tears' is a satirical, often self-deprecating critique of the place of 'whiteness' in the African Renaissance. While largely successful, Bettina Malcomess feels that the show could have benefited from tighter curation. She also feels that there are stronger works with more nuance, that are 'layered, subtle explorations of how privilege speaks itself'. They are, she feels, exactly the kind of confession 'we' need to keep making.
'Cities in Crisis', a photographic exhibition curated by Dave Southwood and Michael Godby, is a rich document of urban South Africa, featuring contributions from David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim, Jo Ractliffe and Sam Nhlengethwa amongst others. According to Landi Raubenheimer, it 'offers both unself-conscious and self-reflexive moments of tension in its collective depictions of urban communities' and 'highlights the act of looking and the notion of belonging in a society that remains dramatically socio-economically stratified.'
In Durban, Carol Brown spoke to both Aidan Walsh and Cameron Platter, both of whose shows closed recently at the KZNSA.
Johannesburg's Artspace shifts location to swish new premises in Rosebank. Mike van Graan is appointed Executive Director of Africa Centre and the ten semi-finalists for Sasol Wax Art Award 2008 have been announced. A new artists' residency opens at Kwa Mamli in Gugulethu, and the South African Centre for Photography prepares for its 2008 festival. In Durban, Art for Humanity celebrates Art, Creativity and Freedom at a Gala Dinner.
Michael Smith profiles Anthea Moys in this month's artbio.
Chad Rossouw visits the Gugulective's Gugsblog www.gugulective.blogspot.com, which he finds informative and interesting but perhaps in need of some attention in parts.
Our latest New Media Editor Chad Rossouw profiles Marcus Neustetter and Nathaniel Stern's getawayexperiment.net which was commissioned by www.turbulence.org
The AVA calls for submissions for their members' exhibition and whatiftheworld invites submissions for their fleet trailer design project. Monash University, Melbourne offers residencies and the Oslo Screen Festival invites entries.
David Robert Lewis comes out of his corner punching, in response to EdYoung's Diary of last month.
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