Archive: Issue No. 27, November 1999

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Website of the month

This is the website designed by Pascal Bompard for 'Softserve', the Public Eye organised multi media art event to take place at the South African National Gallery on November 5. At time of writing, the site gives lists of the participants and basic information about when and where. Pictures of the artists work and new pages will be added soon.

New listings:

For those interested in the politics of getting grants, and a new system of structuring financial support for artists, this US site makes fascinating reading. This year, a new private-sector foundation has been established to partially fill the gaps left by the National Art Endowment's elimination of individual grants in 1995. Called Creative Capital Foundation, the non-profit organisation is made up of 22 other foundations including the Andy Warhol, Rockefeller and Norton Family Foundations. Sixty grants ranging from $5 000 to $20 000 will be allocated in the current year.

Instead of simply handing over money to artists, the foundation will essentially enter into partnership with them. It is hoped that some projects will generate revenue and an agreed-upon percentage of income from funded works will go back into the pot to support new endeavours. However, executive director Ruby Lerner emphasizes that creative excellence and cultural impact and not potential profitabilitity will be the main criteria.

And the assistance extends beyond financial aid. Artists will also receive information and advice on marketing, audience development, administration, contracts and copyright, invaluable aid for those who have seldom received business training. Grants are only open to US citizens or residents, but the model is one which could surely be perused and adapted by local funding agencies, like the National Arts Council and BASA

Local links

This is the website of Cape Town's fledgling South African Centre for Photography, and gives images and information about current photographic events.


Indispensable daily reading for anyone who wishes to keep up with the the best of local cultural happenings. Under the rigorous editorship of Sophie Perryer, the site also features lively interviews and reviews taken from the Mail & Guardian.


Every artist deserves a business card on the net, the Artslink webmaster TJ de Klerk believes. And galleries can have a whole page, free. This local site becomes more and more useful, with its e-mailing of arts-related press releases available to anyone through its Acemail programme. Won the Arts and Culture award for best art site in the country last year.

Museums Online: South Africa presents all the current activities and exhibitions of local museums. Two recently added sections are an Events section which enables anyone in the museum of related community to announce relevant activities on the internet, and a by-subscription mailing list which will allow one to be e-mailed regularly on museum activities.

Another South African museum goes online - this is the website of the King George VI Art Gallery in Port Elizabeth, with news of current exhibitions and activities and a virtual tour of some of the gallery's highlights.

International links:

One of the better exhibition websites around is this one, which shows a number of works by each of artists on New York's Museum for African Art show, 'Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa'. It's a good place to go for all those matric essayists constantly seeking information on local artists.

Published biannually in India, is the gorgeous online version of a global ideas magazine. Four issues old, it has won seven national and international awards for excellence addressing issues that are of universal concern through the arts, performing arts, essays, poetry, photo-essays, socio-political stories of communities and people. In the current issue, the focus is on "Divides", inviting readers to reflect on the urgency of bridging divides between people and nations.

Coverage of the 48th Venice Biennale is being provided by, Italy's largest community of artists. Biennale curator Harald Szeeman invited the website to be part of the Aperto section, and to provide daily news of artists, exhibition protagonists and with close-up views only possible from operating directly inside the event.

There is also news of Venice itself, and even useful hints for would-be visitors to the Biennale.

Chinese artists are attracting more and more notice on the world art scene - check this well designed site out for a look at what's going on on that side of the globe.

The Thami Mnyele studio in Amsterdam, established in 1993, is a home from home for two visiting artists a year, providing an air ticket and living and working space. In a recent policy change, the foundation is also considering artists from other African countries. The website tells how to apply for a fellowship and the conditions.

Universes in Universe

One of the best sites around - devoted to the documenting, discussion and promotion of the art of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Last year, co-founder of the site Gerhard Haupt initiated the "Cultural Exchange via Internet: Opportunities and Strategies" forum. A number of international art figures presented preliminary statements on the way in which the internet is changing the traditional relationships between artists/curators/other artists/organisations, and the potential for the future. The responses from all over the world were truly amazing, and the forum, initially planned for a three-month period, will continue this year with the possibility of a web-based international exhibition. It's all still available, along with many other interesting links, on this site.

Lapses and Erasures

Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg's Erased De Kooning drawing, Sawad Brooks has transported the concept of erasure from the analogue to the digital domain. Erasure always leaves its own traces, and Brooks raises the question of how we can decipher digital erasure with four elegant projects: Shuttle Shutter, Focus, Annotator and Register. It is the viewer that must perform the erasures. This is interaction at its most evolved.


A New York-based website which is one of the best and the biggest, constantly updating current information on exhibitions, and offering excellent reviews and magazine coverage.


Focusing on an interchange of material about Africa, this fresh-looking Dutch-based site has a particular emphasis on the arts and culture of this continent, and searches for new virtual exhibitions to host online.


A site of truly wondrous projects. Breathing Earth, for instance, is a visualisation of earthquakes that have happened worldwide in the past 14 days. A globe with a map of the world comes into view, and on each of the 14 dates, swellings bubble up indicating the location of the seismic activities. Other projects involve the number of kilometres the world has swung round the sun while you have been busy on the website, and the sounds of the web itself.


One of the best - great artist projects, articles, news.


Intriguing initiatives especially designed for the web from a variety of artists. All of them are worth checking out.

Stroom is an organisation in Holland which not only has its own gallery but also sponsors numerous public art projects by such artists as Vito Acconci. Their site lists and shows many such projects. At present, the site is in Dutch only, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for South Africans.

Dale Chihuly is probably the best known glass artist in the world, the first American to be named as a National Living Treasure in 1992. His glass blowing projects have taken him all over the world from Venice to Japan, and his most recent involves huge swathes of blown glass hanging from the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. Opening in July, the project will remain in place for the millennium. His site shows pictures of these and many other projects.




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