In mid April, CAPE sent out a questionnaire to 'X-Cape' participants, those on the fringe, asking for feedback on a range of questions relating to their experience as exhibitors on the 'Cape '07' programme of art events. There is to be an assessment session on May 14, looking back at how things actually happened in the end, and looking to the future. (And there were many wonderful moments. Like the viewings of artists' video work on the bank of TV sets for sale in the busy mall under Cape Town station, for example.) 'Any further comments?' reads the last line of the questionnaire.
Here is one from ArtThrob. Is there going to be any form of catalogue, any tangible visual and written record on paper of the events that took place? Something for posterity, to send to all those who took the time and trouble to participate and want a record of it; for all those wanted to come but didn't, and for Cape to have in hand to show for next time around? Without it, it will be hard to convince sponsors, artists, and the overseas press that anything of real value took place. In today's art world, a catalogue is totally essential, the proof that the organisers take their responsibilities seriously.
If anyone is in any doubt of the value of catalogues, one only needs to speak to artworld people in other countries who receive with reliable regularity the fine publications Michael Stevenson Contemporary in Cape Town puts out for every single show. These catalogues are building the careers of the artists and putting the gallery on the international map in a way that nothing else can.
Books are the subject of a special review section edited by Andrew Lamprecht this month - read and enjoy.
NEXT UPDATE: Sunday, June 3
With the 'Cape '07' phenomenon over, Cape Town - rejuvenated, refreshed and perhaps a little perplexed - settles back into the ordinary run of things. Linda Givon's second installment of her inaugural shows 'Lift Off II' shows a younger side of the Goodman stable. Conrad Botes and Claudette Schreuders display new work at Michael Stevenson and Alan Alborough is as enigmatic as usual about his latest exhibition at João Ferreira.
Angela Buckland presents a new body of work at David Krut Projects, and the highly acclaimed Billie Zangewa shows at Afronova. While recent Wits graduate Colleen Alborough shows a new work at Outlet, students from her alma mater present a series of interdisciplinary collaborations at the Wolmarans Gallery on campus.
Durban is buzzing this month with the exhibition 'Off the Wall 2' at artSPACE Durban promising to wake the city with graphics, hip hop, blogging and animation. Ceramics also feature at artSPACE as well as at the African Art Centre. The latter's 'Kucwebezela: To Shine' is the result of a doctoral research project by US student Elizabeth Perrill. Last year Perrill reviewed the ceramic work of the late James O. Hall whose retrospective is on view at the Durban Art Gallery. The Durban Institute of Technology continues with its innovative artist-in-residence programme, showcasing the work of Bronwyn Lace from Johannesburg who last showed in Durban at the YAP exhibition.
This month rising star Nicholas Hlobo has his first solo show in Italy, while Gavin Younge presents a collection of his works from the last ten years in Paris. Ed Young fails fantastically in Basel, albeit in good company, and Nathaniel Stern starts a season long exhibition in Ireland.
Bettina Malcolmess looks back on the successes and failures of 'Cape '07' both as participant and audience member. Despite its stutters in the beginning and the complete failure of all potential funders, once the event scaled itself down and adopted a more transparent communication policy, the pared-down, 'lower-key' event which emerged succeded on many fronts. The event managed, particularly well, to co-ordinate the separate venues across such vast distances, 'both physical and ideological', which, she contends, is a fairly decent start. Sophie Perryer's second curatorial outing with Michael Stevenson Contemporary 'Afterlife' is reviewed by Tavish McIntosh, who contends that amid a diverse range of productions, many archetypal elements emerge - 'most especially the interrogation of our pitiful attempts to transcend this world'. Sue Williamson reviews the cheeky, yet erudite, 'Gimberg/Nerf/Sacks/Young' show at Stellenbosch Modern And Contemporary, where she finds their 'jokiness' to work about '65% of the time'. Not a bad average, she goes on to say.
Michael Smith reviews Anke Scháfer's 'Being Here', a project facilitated by the Bag Factory Studios' residency programme. He is impressed with this varied and highly nuanced body of work dealing with South Africans' preoccupation with safety and security, which elucidates this highly complex and fraught issue. In his review of Roger Ballen's mid-career survey Brenden Gray notes that he is not so much disturben by Ballen's subject matter as by his inability to know whether the works have been constructed by the photographer and the subject, or whether they are the camera's faithful documentation of an already existing scene. In addition to Gray's review, we run Wits Masters student Jessica Webster's review of the same show which she submitted voluntarily. We encourage postgrad students from other Gauteng institutions to contribute in this way. Michael Smith conducted an interview with Anthea Moys and Juliana Smith, co-curators of 'Armed Response II', an exhibition comprising works in various media including video, installation, sound, print and live art works that took place in and around Johannesburg's Goë:the Institute on Saturday April 28.
American scholar Elizabeth Perrill, who is currently in SA researching Zulu ceramics reviews the retrospective of James O. Hall, which demonstrates that his skills extended way beyond the ceramics for which he is best known. She includes details of his public works,James O. Hallof which go unseen. Along with this, Andrew Verster, friend of the late artist, reviews his life's work as it is presented in this retrospective as well as in the city where he lived and produced most of it.
Ralph Borland recently participated in the James Beckett-curated 'Sirens' which took place in Amsterdam. He reports back on his visit there and the contributions of some of the artists.
SPECIAL SECTION: BOOK REVIEWS
In this special section, organised by Andrew Lamprecht, Bettina Malcomess reviews Discrepant Abstraction (from Annotating Art's Histories series) edited by Kobena Mercer, a comprehensive collection of essays which seeks to introduce previously excluded voices into the history of Modernism. On the way we are introduced to artists and theoreticians from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Malcomess notes, however, that theory and practice are not always as congruent as the book attempts to contend. She also looks at The collection of the late Jack and Helene Kahn - Highly important South African Paintings, a catalogue which, although not without merit, is closer to an auction guide and price list. Jo'burg-based Fullbright scholar Zachary Yorke reviews One Million and Forty-Four Years (And Sixty-Three Days) edited by Kathryn Smith, the recent publication which accompanied 'Gimberg/Nerf/Sacks/Young' at SMAC.
Jillian Ross and Wilma Cruise visit New York's Lower East Side Printshop. Tavish McIntosh asks, now that 'Cape '07' is over, where to from here? Durban-based Jan Jordaan reports on the public display of Art for Humanity's Break the Silence HIV/Aids banners. Carol Brown recently returned from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association 14th Triennial Symposium in Gainsville, Florida
Carol Brown profiles the ever-prolific Andrew Verster who celebrates his 70th birthday with a 10-year retrospective later this year.
Ed Young visits www.capeafrica.org, website of 'Cape '07' which he finds to be clear and coherent.
We feature the ArtHeat ProjectSpace which last month, in association with the 2666 Midnight Residency, presented 'Honey's Tattoo Parlour', a residency by Barend De Wet.
Spier Contemporary 2007 calls for submissions, as does the 2007 PPC Young Concrete Sculptor Awards. Global Art Information offers free websites to artists. There are teaching jobs for Photography graduates available in Sultanate of Oman and Art Bank Jo'burg seeks a full time Admin Assistant/Receptionist.
In what we hope is the last salvo in this particular discussion, Michael Smith replies (succinctly) to Rat Western's latest contribution.
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ArtThrob is delighted to present the latest in our Editions for ArtThrob series, a vivid photomontage by Jane Alexander, one of South Africa's most important and internationally acclaimed artists. Although best known as a sculptor for iconic works like Butcher Boys(1985/6), and complex, sculpture and video installations such as African Adventure (1999 - 2002), photomontage has always been a parallel facet of Alexander's production. Just as her sculptural installations may take a variety of forms, so many of her sculptures make appearances as characters in the varied two-dimensional tableaux of her photomontages, where she creates for them new environments and proposes new relationships between them.
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