'ArtThrob is brilliant!', said Documenta 12 director Roger Buergel in a brief conversation with me following a panel discussion in New York this week. 'We used it for all our research'. In his presentation at a New Museum discussion on globalism versus provincialism enitled 'Location Location, Location', Buergel had emphasised the importance the Documenta organisers are placing on the role of the world media in disseminating - and inititiating - art discourse. In February, Documenta will hold a small forum of media people in Johannesburg around the enigmatic question 'What is to be done?'
This emphasis on the role of the media makes this month's opinion piece particularly relevant: the importance of a narrow range of publications, institutions and art world figures in forming public opinion on art is discussed in a piece by Michael Smith and colleagues Brenden Gray and Laudi Raubenheimer.
Next month sees the resumption of our regular features ArtBio and the Diary - and we will also feature our annual lookback at the year before. Expect, too, an announcement on Venice (the radio has gone silent on that one for the moment) and a reportback on TransCape, scheduled to take place in March.
Next update: Sunday, February 4
The consumerism that often accompanies the festive season receives a timely critique from artist Jacques Coetzer whose Bell-Roberts show engages with concerns around mass culture. Wim Botha's recurrent engagement with morality and mortality informs his latest solo at Michael Stevenson. But for viewers not quite ready post-holiday for such high-minded engagement, there are alternatives: narratives in porcelain and light at what if the world..., landscape photographs at Exposure and a 'concept exhibition' at The Bin where viewers can bid for works on show.
Johannesburg is pretty quiet at the moment with only one new show opening - Sotiris Moldovanos at Artspace Gallery.
Most galleries are easing slowly into 2007, although the ever energetic team at Bean Bag is capitalising on the party-goers and keeping up an ongoing programme which currently features works by Peter Engblom and Yvette Dunn. artSpace kicks off the year with Robert Balfour's mixed media works and the KZNSA gears up for their annual Members' Exhibition while some interesting artists show at the African Art Centre.
The new year opens with another huge South African group show, this time an exhibition of South African photographers curated by Pam Warne at the NBK in Berlin. Meanwhile, Mandy Lee Jandrell takes part in a group show in London and Robin Rhode participates in an exhibition about humour in Tokyo. n Atlanta, Georgia, Sue Williamson opens a solo show at the Wertz Gallery.
There was much to delight in for viewers willing to slog through the Graduate Exhibition at UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art and 'Section 53' at the University of Stellenbosch, says footsore, sunburnt and sweaty Tavish McIntosh. Matthew Hindley's latest paintings of 'Surrealist hey-diddle-diddle' offer a spellbinding visual delight that satirises puritanical hellfire and brimstone fanaticism, says Lloyd Pollack in his review of 34Long's 'Before My Time'.
New Durban Editor Carol Brown reviews Zip Zip My Brain Harts, a catalogue showcasing photographer Angela Buckland's The Sticky Tape Juice Collection series.
In a reflective piece, fitting for this time of year, Michael Smith discusses art criticism with peers and previous ArtThrob contributors Brenden Gray and Landi Raubenheimer. The discussion doesn't shy away from Big Issues, such as 'how to reconfigure art criticism so that it upsets the tenacious racial imbalances in the visual arts industry' and takes pops at a few prominent figures and institutions along the way. Read away
Albert Adams (76) left a legacy of masterly works that will continue to challenge, enrich and move, according to an obituary by Marilyn Martin, director of art collections at Iziko Museums Cape Town. Meeting Carl Roberts, a catalogue of work by Durban-based sculptor, is launched, while The Artist's Way and The Sound of Paper workshops are to be held in Durban. In Gauteng, Art Bank Jo'burg provides answers to some frequently asked questions in a release sent to members of the media. Sue Williamson writes about the Red Cross Children's Hospital Auction set to take place in February.
Carine Zaayman reviews V2: Institute for unstable media�s newly launched internet magazine Kontrol.
Carine Zaayman explores UK-based net art collective Mongrel.
'Van Boerekitsch en Ander Dinge' invites submissions, and proposals are invited for 'Flesh!', both shows set to take place at 2007's KKNK. Entries are also invited for the UNESCO Digital Art Awards 2007
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