Is there any other country where the subject of Biennales so divides the art world? The pros believe the international focus is essential to raising the profile of the whole art scene, the cons that with limited resources we should be concentrating on the local.
A chief spokesperson for the cons is Mario Pissarra, who took three years to take issue (on his website) with an ArtThrob review of the 2003 Venice Biennale, and a piece written at the same time by SANG director Marilyn Martin. In the opposite corner and speaking up for the pros is Malcolm Payne, who argues for the inestimable value of Biennales in this month's OPINION.
Meanwhile, reports filtering back from the latest biennial in Dakar told of projection equipment being handed out to frantic artists during opening speeches (again) work that went to New York by mistake and all the usual chaos. But Robert Storr, director of the next Venice Biennale was there, and so was Ruth Noack of Documenta, and everyone had a great time ... Carol Brown reports back for ArtThrob.
Within the country, festinos are getting ready for the annual trek to Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival. See Listings for a preview of the visual arts shows.
Next update: Friday, July 7
While a few of Cape Town's galleries seem to be hibernating for the winter, Michael Stevenson hosts an über-show of African artists, you can finally see some of Max Wolpe's paintings at the AVA and the Iziko Bo-Kaap museum holds a fascinating exhibition centered around the symbol of the Hand of Fatima. It's Grahamstown Festival time again, and some of the visual arts highlights include Churchill Madikida's Young Artist Award show, 'Making Waves: A selection of works from the SABC art collection', as well as the Fiona Rankin-Smith-curated 'Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa'.
A new project space opens in downtown Johannesburg, 'Artists in Conversation' opens at Wits University Art Galleries, and an important painting survey show opens at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary. You still have a good long time to catch Kentridge's 'Black Box' at the JAG.
This month the Durban Art Gallery sees the opening of four new exhibitions, including Peter Magubane's images of Mandela, and 'Visual Trajectories - Art from India'. The KZNSA Gallery showcases the 20 finalists in 'Start: The Nivea Art Awards', while artSPACE durban hosts painter Lorainne Goss-Ross and photographer Dirk Grobler.
There is not too much happening on the international front this month. Julia Rosa Clark, Ruth Sacks, Bridget Baker and Dorothee Kreutzfeldt all exhibit at the Liste young artists' fair in Basel, South African artists join a 200 person show in Bethlehem, and Penny Siopis and Zwelethu Mthethwa show in Belfast and New York respectively.
Linda Stupart reviews 34Long's 'Recent Arrivals' and Johann van der Schijff's 'Power Play' at Bell-Roberts. Lloyd Pollack reviews Eris Silke's latest outing at the AVA. Bettina Malcomess reviews Guy Tillim's show at Michael Stevenson Contemporary, while Andrew Lamprecht surveys 'Picasso and Africa'.
Michael Smith is impressed with Brett Murray's 'Sleep, Sleep' at the Goodman Gallery, and finds William Kentridge's 'Black Box' at the JAG, for which Philip Miller wrote the music, 'magnificent, if tragic'.
Dean Henning reviews James Beckett's solo outing at the KZNSA, while Francesca Verga reviews Peter Machen's 'The Corduroy Man' at the same venue.
Carol Brown recently returned from 'Dak'art 7' where she was part of the international jury. She reports back.
Malcolm Payne writes an open letter to Mario Pissarra in response to his 'Death to Venice! A South African perspective on the irrelevance of representation at the Venice Biennale' published on ASAI (Africa South Art Initiative www.asai.co.za).
CAPE Launches 'Multimediations', an educational arts programme leading up to 'Trans Cape'. Carol Brown, director of the Durban Art Gallery, recently visited Atlanta and was fortunate enough to see the famous and vast 'Names Project' AIDS quilt and meet its principal caretaker, Gert McMullin. Former ArtThrob editor Sean O'Toole wins the 2006 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award and Durban's Bean Bag Bohemia restaurant-cum-art gallery wins a BASA award.
Amongst other things, Sue has lunch with Tollman Award winner and artbio subject Nicholas Hlobo, and produces a new piece for 'Off the Record', a show that runs concurrently with 'Africa Remix' in Tokyo. Unfortunately, her external hard drive chooses an inopportune moment to pack up as well.
Nicholas Hlobo is featured this month.
Carine Zaayman visits Theory kit, Artheat and photographer Caroline Suzman's site.
Carine Zaayman reviews the 'Associaço Cultural Videobrasil'
The British Council invites submissions for 2006 International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Triangle France (in Marseille) invites applications for a residency and the AVA is looking for a gallery director.
Malcom Payne takes Khwezi Gule to task for an article appearing in last issue of Art South Africa and his apparent plagiarism of Carine Zaayman's James Webb Artbio from some years back.
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