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Feedback is an open forum for readers to share any comments and insights relevant to art practice in South Africa. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

From: Malcolm Payne
Date: May 18
Subject: Plagiarism

Plagiarism. Is it the new orthodoxy or, in Orwell's terms, just 'crimespeak'?

Khwezi Gule in his article When Transgressions Become Orthodoxy states 'that the quality of thought and opinion coming out of our institutions of higher learning is so poor, and that the general tendency of the art world is conservative, timid, fearful of authority, adoring of power and generally sycophantic - in a word emblematic of the goodthinkful'. (Art South Africa Vol. 04, Issue 03, Autumn 2006: p47)

I agree with his observations on the art world. But what bamboozles me is his paradoxical outlook on institutions of higher learning.

If higher institutional thought and opinion were so poor, why would Mr. Gule (Curator of Contemporary Collections, Johannesburg Art Gallery) along with co-editors of the catalogue for the 2006 MTN New Contemporaries Award, Phillipa Hobbs (MTN Art Collection Curator) and Clive Kellner (Director, Johannesburg Art Gallery) plagiarize verbatim sections of Carine Zaayman's Artbio on James Webb published in ArtThrob 84 of August 2004 for their catalogue? Ms Zaayman is an academic and artist working at the University of Cape Town, an institution of higher learning.

If none of the above convinces Mr. Gule to change his juvenile viewpoint on institutions of higher learning, let's hope those institutions he so poorly represents persuade him differently.

Professor Malcolm Payne
Michaelis School of Fine Art

The Feedback section for dialogue and interaction has existed on the ArtThrob site since its inception in 1997. Readers may also submit reviews, though this option is seldom taken up. One of the main aims of ArtThrob is to encourage discourse and the exchange of views on all matters concerning the production and reception of art in South Africa.