Archive: Issue No. 25, September 1999

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Something you want to say about ArtThrob? E-mail

Disheartening Review

From: Michael Willemse
Subject: From Pisces into Aquarius

Greetings from Grant at Le Bon Ton. The site looks terrific! Thanks for the crit on our Idasa exhibition. I thought I'd point out a couple of things. The intention was to get 15 artists already known to the public to exhibit alongside 15 other youngsters/recent graduates who have not yet had a fairly large public showing. We hoped the youngsters would be enthused with this angle, which they were, and expected some works of varying quality due to their inexperience (and nerves). We gave the artists a substantial statement to work around, which is also available to the public via the Artline number quoted on the catalogue. Artists were given the chance to state their intention to the public by recording via the Artline facility which quite a few opted for (Artline numbers appear below those artists' works). Bearing in mind that Aquarius is about communication and the individual's increasing right to have an unfettered voice, we expected severe contrasts and rather hoped the public would too if they listened to the Artline statement. We all believe it is worthwhile bringing usually unaligned artists together to look towards the future. In light of this I was disheartened to read that you found the works mostly awful since there are several quality works and quite a few from the youngsters that show promise. I must say that overall we have succeeded in that, since the opening, the younger artists have received favourable comments from the public and constructive criticism from the older artists. With regard to Gangbang, Veronique chose to point out that "one cannot look towards the future if our vessels of the future (our children) are being brutalised on our doorstep... we pre-empt our possibility for future peace with present ignorance".

Le Bon Ton...&Art

- To engage with your email - I don't think there is any point in giving a show a title unless the work of the participating artists quite clearly have had this in mind when they select work for the show. I think it is an extreme stretch to say Veronique's piece related because we have to get rape out of the way before we can move onwards, but this is a matter of opinion. I think it was potentially a powerful piece which suffered badly by its proximity to random paintings etc. Had it had the larger space to itself, it would have looked infinitely better. (Incidentally, when I visited the show, the sound on her piece was not working, and nor could anybody be found to help). I applaud your efforts to assist young artists, but the fact remains that many of them have a long way to go before their work should be allowed out of the studio and into public gallery space.
Sue Williamson

Brett Murray Sculpture

From: Nelis Kruger
Subject: Brett Murray

Having mopped up the kots from the floor after reading about the City Council's actions, I was wondering whether the council gave any information as to WHICH sections of the community would be offended by the sculpture, and WHY they think such people would be offended. This is really absolutely phucking (with apology to LS) disgusting - I'm referring to this hypocritical arrogance of forming an opinion for others. All I can say, is GOOD LUCK to Murray and his legal team. Drive the buggers back into the hidden agenda hole they came from in the first place. I have to go now (bile is rising again)

From: sowden
Subject: Brett Murray


Give the people (City councils???) a bit more time to adjust.
What about another 500 years???

ArtThrob's new look

From: Roger Fischer
Subject: Link to Artthrob

Wow! What a stunning new site design. I like it a lot and I think you have one of the best artzines on the whole planet. Soon we are also getting online with our second towards-transit site. A "placeholder" is now already online on On our links-page, we also want to link on your site. Can you link to ours?

Best regards

Roger Fischer

- Towards-transit is a site about a new show on South African art which has just opened in Zurich. Check the web page for a brief review.

From: SA National Gallery
Subject: New look ArtThrob

Just wanted to say congratulations on the newlook ArtThrob - hope the website goes from strength to strength. I see the search engine is the same as the M&G and Museums Online - works really well and adds a whole new dimension to the website.

Peter Dennis
SA National Gallery

From: Clive van den Berg
Subject: The new look ArtThrob

I like the new look Art Throb. The only thing that I am not crazy about is the sound. I am sure that one can turn it off but I have not figured that out yet.

Clive van den Berg
University of the Witwatersrand.

- If the sound bothers you, you could turn the volume down - and in fact, the sound operates only on the Contents page. All the other pages are in silence mode.

Information requested - and offered

From: Errol Clarke
Subject: AIDS art in South Africa

Please could you send me any info on any exhibitions, or individual artists in South Africa who have dealt with AIDS, in their work. This would be greatly appreciated.


Errol Clarke.

- There are a few artists I can think of who have dealt with related issues- Lisa Brice, Andrew Putter and Hentie van der Merwe. Also, recently there was an exhibition (I think it happened countrywide too) at the AVA, organised by Jonathan Comerford of the Hardground Press. You can contact the AVA at You can also try ArtThrob's new search engine which should throw up some things on these issues and artists. You can read about the artists I've mentioned in Sue Williamson and Ashraf Jamal's "Art in South Africa: The Future Present" (David Philip Publishers, 1996).

From: Christophe Abric
Subject: French student looking for information

I'm a French journalism student and I'm preparing an article about South African arts after apartheid. Here in France, we don't have many sources, so I'm writing to enquire about articles or contacts you may have. I'd be very grateful for your help.

Thank you

Christophe Abric

- I suggest going to your library for the following sources in French: Catalogue: un art contemporain d'Afrique du Sud, sous la direction de Jean Yves Jouannais, published by Editions Plume 1994 (might still be on sale at the Pompidou); An edition of Artpress published between April and June of 1994 which focussed on South Africa; Revue Noire - there was a special SA edition; Atlantica (Spain) Numero 19, 1998 was a special SA edition; the files of Liberation newspaper in Paris, which has also run articles from time to time.

Subject: Databank on S.A. artists


Congrats on your pages - I see you get lots of queries from abroad.

I was actively involved in the South African art scene between 1961 and 1994 (Gallery 101, later also Gallery 21, Johannesburg), and as a collector, I built up the PELMAMA Permanent Art Collection which can be seen in various museums in S.A.

When returning to my home country Switzerland, I carried on dealing in South African artists, even had my own gallery in Basel until the end of 1998, showing amongst others, works by Norman Catherine, Lucas Sithole, Schimmel/Meerkotter/Schwanecke etc.
But now I am too old, and I still have a lot to do with writing my memoirs, besides keeping in touch through INet.

I brought along thousands of files on the South African art scene which are available for research purposes.

For further details, refer (which pages need to be updated), send me also your fax at ++41 61 321 01 90 or e_mail at

Regards to all whom may still remember me !

Fernand F. Haenggi

Subject: feedback backpages


I'm trying to get the e_mail address of Martin Kaminer enquiring about Azaria Mbatha. I can't read the July page anymore and suggest that you always show feedback for the current and previous month.

Thanks for your reply

Fernand F. Haenggi

- In fact, the entire contents of old editions of ArtThrob are available through the archives section - go to archives, choose the month, then feedback. Or you could also type Martin Kaminer's name in the search engine slot.

From: Aries
Subject: Help

Please would you be able to send me some info on the following artists: Helen Sebidi, Andries Botha and Sue Williamson.

Thank you,


- You can look in Sue Williamson's books "Resistance Art in South Africa" and "Art in South Africa:The Future Present" (together with Ashraf Jamal) for information on all of these artists. They are all well represented in most major collections in South Africa, and have catalogues in many libraries. The Johannesburg Art Foundation would be able to direct you to lots of information on Helen Sebidi, as she spent some time working there. The Durban Art Gallery will have quite a bit on Andries Botha, e-mail them at You can also use ArtThrob's new search engine which is sure to throw up some stuff for you.

From: Cam
Subject: Re: Vita Award winner

Small question: What is the correct spelling for Jo's surname? Ratcliffe or Ractliffe [as featured on your site]?

yours, smiling


- The spelling is as on the site - Ractliffe. Jo thinks it must have been written down incorrectly on some official document in the murky past.




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