BUSINESS ART May 2009 | Supplement to The South African Art Times | E-mail: email@example.com | Member of the Global Art Information Group
Deborah van Niekerk (2009), From the series ‘The hand that feeds’ Oil on canvas, Now showing at The KZNSA Gallery, Durban, Kwa Zulu - Natal. Until 10 May. see www.nsagallery.co.za for further details
With newspapers in terminal decline, what future for arts journalism? Coverage of the arts is migrating online but unless someone is prepared to pay for it, the outlook is uncertain
By András Szántó From The Art Newspaper www.theartnewspaper.com From Issue 202 (May 2009)
a coelacanth and a DNA machine.
New Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg rises Michael Coulson For some months now, those who travel along Jo’burg’s Jan Smuts Avenue have noticed a strange elliptical concrete structure slowly rising on the corner of Jellicoe, just down the road from the Everard Read Gallery. The corner site was actually bought by the gallery 20-odd years ago, when the then owner, the old Johannesburg City Council, decided it was surplus to requirements, but for most of the time since then it stood idle, used mainly for surplus parking during gallery openings. How to develop it has thus had a long gestation. For years the gallery’s present director, Mark Read, felt that the gallery’s handsome and much-loved premises rather petered out on the western boundary, and at one time considered building a small space – “nothing ambitious” for contemporary art there. But gradually the concept expanded, and a desire grew to put up a multi-purpose building that would be an adornment to the city. Also,
partly through the passage of time and partly given greater freedom after buying out other members of the family from the business, his own horizons expanded. The final building block fell into place when he met architect Pierre Swanepoel, and discovered in enthusiastic discussions that they shared a vision of what could be done. When I first spoke to Read about the building, last year, unofficial cost estimates were put at R10m-R12m, and he planned an environmentally positive project. Today he ruefully admits that those were vain hoped. “The cost has gone way north of that, as for an elliptical building almost every component has to be purposemade, and you can hardly have a less environmentally sound building than one made of concrete with an aluminium cladding.” Nevertheless, the building will reflect Read’s growing interests in things other than selling art, especially palaeontology. The building will basically have three levels (“Unless some day I build a pent
house on the top”). The ground floor he describes as a project and office space, with a ramp curling up to the middle level, a towering exhibition space big enough to suspend motor cars from the ceiling, and then another ramp up to the top to accommodate Darwin’s, an oyster bar which will be a private club for his friends. He doesn’t see the exhibition space as primarily for selling art, though that won’t be precluded. Rather, he envisages seasons displaying new technologies. Like building with bamboo, as is being done at a resort he’s involved with in the Seychelles. He’s also increasingly involved with people like Richard Leakey and Richard (The God Delusion) Dawkins and wants to show Leakey’s “amazing” East African fossils. He’d like to take works out of museums and show them in a different space, juxtaposed with other objects, and is confident museums will go along with this. For example, the old Transvaal Museum has a chunk of moon rock: he’d like to show this next to
Other possibilities seem limitless. “All I can say is that it will be a confused and non-directional path.” He hopes outsiders will also propose relevant projects and events. The building has been named Circa – Latin for about. “This is the perfect name, because it’s not actually any one thing. In some ways it’s like an opera house, but it’s really a techno-space that can take on many identities.” It’s planned to link it across Keyes Avenue with the existing building, though Read is still vague on precisely how this will be achieved, which will have to be determined in conjunction with the Jo’burg Metro. The first show, towards the end of the year, will be a collaborative effort by Willem Boshoff and Karel Nel. “I couldn’t wish for a better duo.” Read stresses that his relatively new minority shareholder, banker Paul Harris, has not put up any of the money, “though he loves the project.” The existing business will have to pay for it. “It’ll be tight, but we’ll manage it.” If passion is any determinant, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Before we succumb to nostalgia, let’s be clear: arts journalism has never had it easy. Culture, especially in its rarefied incarnations, has never been a high priority for the mainstream press. Criticism is a strange bird in an enterprise devoted to “objectivity” and mass readership. And news bosses rarely care about “soft” arts stories. They are into “hard” reporting on wars and money and sport—boys’ stuff. Instead of a reliable income, arts journalism has paid dividends in the form of access to art and a voice in cultural debates—that, and an occasional VIP pass, dinner invite or goodie bag. Recently, though, the situation has taken a turn for the worse. The imminent demise of printed newspapers is no longer a panel discussion topic, but a reality. Many US cities including Denver and Seattle are losing their second papers; others (including, possibly, San Francisco, Miami and Philadelphia) are contemplating life without a printed daily. The Detroit Free Press is only printing a paper edition three days a week. Even the New York Times, its stock worth barely more than its Sunday edition, has sold its Renzo Piano tower, imposed steep cost cuts, and is threatening to close its subsidiary, the Boston Globe. The massively overleveraged Tribune Company, owner of dozens of newspapers, is in bankruptcy, leaving the fate of the Chicago Tribune
and the Los Angeles Times in the balance. At the Los Angeles Times, newsroom positions have been cut by half over the past decade, and arts coverage substantially reduced. An aptly named blog, Paper Cuts, counts 24,000 newspaper jobs lost in the US since the start of last year. The outlook for newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic is dim. Arts journalism as we used to know it is sinking with the ship. The forces undermining the news business are the same everywhere and have been extensively catalogued by now. Studies show, however, that arts journalism is not being singled out for inequitable rollbacks. The problem is that the cuts are deepening an already miserable shortage of resources, set against a cultural universe that continues to expand. We are past the tipping point: it has become acceptable to run a paper with just a skeletal culture staff. Specialised writers are giving way to generalists. Culture sections are being tossed overboard (standalone book review sections, in particular, are a dying breed). Article lengths and “news holes” (space for editorial content) are shrinking. All this has eviscerated newspapers’ ability to deliver quality arts coverage, which, as a result, must migrate elsewhere. Beyond the tipping point But where? Many experts believe that daily newspapers will never find a way back to sustaining solid arts journalism. Magazines are doing marginally better, but they cannot shoulder the burden of timely local arts coverage, especially for
non-specialist readers—and some are folding. The news industry, on the whole, was too slow to embrace the internet and deploy its once abundant war chests to find new ways of capturing readers seeking information, services and communities. Myopically obsessed with their traditional product, newspapers failed to acquire, let alone invent, game-changing technologies such as Craigslist, Facebook or the Kindle. Under relentless shareholder pressure, publishers have tried every game in the book to monetise journalism on the web—from charging for online subscriptions, to fencing off “walled gardens” of premium content, to surrounding journalism with clever advertising. Lately, some executives have been pinning their hopes on an iTunesstyle micro-payment scheme. Last month, the Associated Press threatened to make sites that link to its content pay up or face legal action, while Rupert Murdoch warned: “People reading news for free on the web, that’s got to change.” But so far nothing has worked. No substitute for newspapers’ monopoly on local and classified advertising has emerged. For Douglas McLennan, publisher of ArtsJournal, a popular arts newsletter and link aggregator (with 50,000 daily users), it is simply too late for papers to innovate their way out of this quandary. “We just need to regretfully bid them adieu and get them out of the room, because they are sucking up oxygen. It is going to make it difficult for the new models to take hold until some of this dead wood is pushed out.” Now the good news: it is only a
matter of time before someone puts the pieces back together again. The search for a hopeful future begins with the insight that although journalists and publications are suffering, readership is up by wide margins. More people than ever are reading and writing about art, thanks to the web. The problem is not the scarcity or the quality of arts journalism (the latter has always been mixed), but that no one is paying for it—at least not yet. Broadly speaking, there are three ways forward from here. Recreating economies of scale Clearly, arts journalists aren’t disappearing. They are just moving online. Technorati lists 185,000 “arts” blogs at present, including 5,396 on “art criticism” and 1,858 on “arts journalism” (disclosure: I am a co-founder of one of them, artworldsalon.com). From a business standpoint, the question is how to generate audiences around these atomised writers to allow them to collect paid advertising. One strategy is for individual blogs to scale up to a size where their writers become popular “personal brands”. This has happened in political punditry and may happen in entertainment writing. But it is unlikely in visual arts journalism, where audiences even for top writers are thin. A more realistic, already extant scenario links blogs to heavily trafficked journalism, entertainment, or aggregator sites, which attract large numbers of readers by providing access to a wide range of news content.
BUSINESS ART | MAY 09
A Unique Asset Class By Johans Borman ‘Safe as houses’ and ‘you can bank on it’ are just two phrases that come to mind when most of us think about investing in some or other asset class. We have been conditioned, from the time that we were able to comprehend the concept of investments, to believe that the value of fixed property and the trustworthiness of our banks are beyond doubt. That was until the ‘toxic debt’-inspired credit crunch of 2008 - which seems to have deepened now, at the start of 2009. With South African collectors paying millions of Rands for works by our most desirable artists, there is no doubt that our art has now become a recognised asset class. In my opinion, ‘investment art’ can be a very misleading concept as it certainly does not apply to all works of art but only to a select group. The core issue, which offers the key to understanding the characteristics and nature of this asset class, is the degree of uniqueness. Every original work of art is a unique creation, which will be interpreted by uniquely different individuals, who will all have uniquely different views about its appeal, success and value. The investment value of any asset is ultimately determined by its desirability. How desirable a particular asset is depends on diverse factors like the emotional impact it has on the potential buyer, the intellectual stimulation it provides, its inherent quality and condition, how fashionable it is and to what degree the price matches the buyer’s perception of its current value and its potential for appreciation. Investment characteristics In order to make sense of these abstract concepts we need to identify and define the characteristics
that determine that segment of the art market that can be regarded to be of investment quality – thereby justifying its status as an asset class: Desirability It is a sobering thought that the value of any painting is determined by its desirability only, as it has no intrinsic value such as that of a fixed property or shares in a company with a net asset value. Investments, like ‘blue chip’ shares, are rated by their historical performance and the perception of their expected future performance. These two aspects are largely responsible for the premium paid for such shares, thus reflecting their desirability. It is for this reason that most ‘investment art’ pieces are works by deceased artists who would normally fall under the ‘old masters’ category. Works by these artists have a proven track record of the change in its value over time, which offers a sound reference for predicting its future performance. With fashionable trends often evident in the art market, it obviously helps to know that a particular artist’s work has maintained its desirability over long periods of time – unlike some avant-garde contemporary works that can lose their relevance or appeal relatively quickly (Like the ‘Resistance art’ of the eighties). Uniqueness As mentioned above, we are dealing with a unique asset class. Although every work by a good artist is an original and unique creation, there needs to be consistency in terms of the technical quality, style and subject matter for the body of work to generate long term interest and thus value. Experimental works which do not lead to a sty-
listic development or a new series of works will never be as desirable as the works which define an artist’s oeuvre. The long term value of any artist’s body of work also requires a great enough number of works that will ensure continuous trade in it – thereby confirming and reinforcing the value over time. The value of works by artists who only produce a few hundred works in their lifetime often suffers because of the irregular trade in such works. It becomes very difficult to establish a fair current market value of a particular work when there are no records of recent sales of comparable works. Artists are often criticised for ‘repeating’ themselves when they produce works based on the same subject matter or idea – unfortunately this is exactly what is required to establish a large enough body of work to ensure its long term market value. If Hugo Naudé had only painted Namaqualand’s spring flowers once, these paintings would never have become his most sought after, and therefore valuable, works. Collectability The functionality of any work of art can generally be best described as a luxury item which provides emotional and intellectual stimulation. It is therefore obvious that, as with other luxury goods, it is only the relatively wealthy members of society who can afford it. From an investment perspective and purely as a theoretic model, it would therefore be prudent to invest in works by those artists which the biggest group of collectors are buying. This would guarantee continuity in the competition for, and trade in, these works and would result in a stable market - underpinning a steady increase in values.
Internationally, artists’ careers have been made when the right museum curators and collectors started buying their work – collectors like Charles Saatchi have managed to capitalise on this characteristic of the market and made millions of Pounds because of it. The basic requirement to ensure the long term value of any body of work is therefore a large enough group of capable buyers and/or collectors. For anybody considering an investment in this alternative asset class, it would be wise to follow those in the know – the experienced collectors. Private collectors have much more at stake than any individual dealer or auctioneer, as they are spending their own money and have to consider a far greater investment risk. Store of value Given the current turmoil in financial markets globally, it is now even more important to consider the stability of the value of any asset one invests in. Historically, the values of top quality works of art have always withstood the short term volatility of the financial markets. With less cash around and with many established banks and corporations going bankrupt, all potential investors have to be extra careful about where they store their wealth. Most experts agree that the focus is now on the preservation of wealth and that the value of investments should be beyond doubt. The stability of the long term value of quality works of art can in short be ascribed to the following: - Unlike other assets, there is passion involved and ‘the heart wills the mind’ when collecting art - it is not an unemotional, rational decision based purely on financial principles. Sentiment and the emotional involvement with a
work of art usually provide endless enjoyment for the owner, bringing instant and continuous gratification that does not exist with most other financial investments. - Art purchases are usually not financed – works are bought for cash by art lovers who can afford them. This means that it is highly unlikely that owners would come under pressure to sell as there is no debt to service and we are dealing with people who know how to generate wealth (which enabled them to purchase it in the first instance). - The stability of the art market can also be attributed to the fact that it is a relatively small market where a handful of able buyers/collectors can ensure that it stays healthy and stable at any given time – in stark contrast to stock markets where panic selling can result in an investment’s value being eroded to a fraction of its cost in a matter of weeks. Buying your profit The most important difference between art and other recognised asset classes is that it does not provide any income. There is no interest, dividends or rental income and the performance of the investment is measured purely in terms of its capital appreciation. Investors will therefore have to be extra careful when deciding what a fair purchase price is as the performance of their investment will be based purely on the entry cost. Unlike other assets where investors can enjoy both income and capital appreciation, which offer greater investment security when combined, the purchase price is critical when buying a work of art. This is why an intimate knowledge and understanding of an artist’s oeuvre is so important - the desirability (read value) of a work from a particular period, of
a particular subject matter or in a particular style can be multiples of that of other works by the same artist. This aspect of the art market is of course used by unscrupulous dealers to motivate inflated prices based on the record prices paid for the truly exceptional pieces. To avoid being caught in this trap, it is important to have an in depth knowledge and understanding of an artist’s oeuvre and to have reputable and trustworthy advisors. Finding a reputable, independent art advisor is very difficult – given the subjective nature of art appreciation and the fact that most advisors/dealers/auctioneers are commission driven. The only practical alternative in the South African market is reputable galleries who are prepared to guarantee the authenticity, condition and value of the works they offer. Dealers who sell works of art as ‘investments’ should be asked to provide the same set of figures and guarantees one would typically expect from an investment advisor. Would they be prepared to guarantee the purchase price in a trade-in or buy-back situation? And, would they guarantee an annual increase in value at a particular rate? One should not expect independent advice from agents or auctioneers who are selling works on consignment for a commission – they usually ring-fence themselves with ‘conditions of sale’ to limit their responsibility. ‘Buyer beware’ should flash in everybody’s mind when attending an auction where the auctioneer claims the right (in the small print of their ‘Conditions of Sale’) to bid ‘on behalf of the seller’ (bidding against the chandelier!), and passes the responsibility of establishing the authenticity of any work to the buyer! Most good sales people are very good at tell-
ing us what we want to hear… When analyzing art as an asset class, another important aspect of the art market that needs to be taken into account is the transaction charges. As the purpose of most investments is to ultimately turn it into cash, the cost of liquidating an asset can have a significant influence on the final return on the capital invested. Unfortunately these charges are higher than in most other asset classes. Listed shares can be sold for a commission of as low as 1%, and an agent’s commission on fixed property usually ranges from 4 to 10% (with buyers also having to pay transfer duty of about 8 to 10%), but auctioneers and dealers in works of art operate on much higher commissions. South African auction houses charge 10 to 12% (Plus VAT) of the hammer price to both the buyer and the seller (a total of 20 to 24% plus VAT), while London auctioneers charge a buyer’s commission of 20 to 25% and a seller’s commission of about 10% on the hammer price (a total of 30 to 35%). When buying overseas, an additional import VAT at 15,4% of the invoice value (calculated on the rate of exchange when it arrives in SA) is payable to SA Customs. Most galleries charge a 20 to 30% commission to re-sell works, with the commission percentage on higher priced works usually more negotiable. It is therefore obvious, given the commission structures in the art industry, that any ‘investment’ would have to perform very well for a period of at least 5 to 7 years before the real net return would be worthwhile.
One potential obstacle to museums sharing content online is the issue of copyright and how to protect images if they are put on the internet. Legal implications aside, from a practical point of view this approach is becoming outdated. For example, the Art Museum of Estonia has gone against convention by actively encouraging visitors to photograph its collection; the MoMA website helps users to co-create content and share these creations with friends.
such as MoMA that have wholeheartedly embraced the new digital environment are becoming part of the conversation, rather then just pushing content or questions at visitors and then sitting back.
Conclusion In my opinion, the unique characteristics of works of art that fall into the investment category
warrant a strategy where it could comfortably make up 10% of any investment portfolio. The motivating factors are in short: - Instant and continuous pleasure and enjoyment with almost no holding costs (Most serious art buyers are art lovers and not just investors). - An excellent and stable store of value and wealth in uncertain times where other asset classes can experience severe volatility and erosion of value. - The potential for exceptional growth in value if buying the right pieces at the right time – like now, where financial pressures will certainly force sales at prices which will offer very good value. - No Capital Gains Tax (or any other taxes) on profits if works were bought privately as collectables and not for speculative purposes. - An opportunity to leave a legacy that says much more about an individual than any bank balance can reflect - but with a built-in financial advantage. We have often sold inherited works where the proceeds literally changed people’s lives for the better – paying the deposit on their first home, or paying for their university education. With South African art now an established alternative asset class, it is important to evaluate the effects of the current financial crises, and formulate a strategy to take advantage of the situation. I firmly believe that one should now look for opportunities to acquire quality works of art while the pessimists are too pre-occupied with the doom and gloom to even notice them. © Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery
Facebook is more than a fad -and museums need to learn from it By Jim Richardson From The Art Newspaper www.theartnewspaper.com (May 2009) Social networks and blogs are the fastest growing online activities, according to a report published in March by research firm Nielsen Online. Almost 10% of all time spent on the internet is spent on these types of sites, which Nielsen describes as “member communities”, and they are visited by more than two-thirds of the world’s online users. This has not gone unnoticed by museums and galleries, with many
creating some kind of presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. But because this has primarily been done as a marketing tool, institutions are missing a far greater opportunity. By treading gently into the second generation of web development and design, known as Web 2.0, museums risk achieving little, and are effectively paying mere lip service to online social engagement. If they were to make a proper commitment to the enterprise, they could transform their relationship with audiences, change people’s perceptions of them and vastly expand the reach of their collections. The Nielsen research shows that
a major factor in the success of social networks is that they allow people to select and share content. This has become a hobby, even considered by some to be a serious creative outlet, with web users spending time “curating” their online space. Museums are well placed to appeal to this new generation of “curators” because they offer rich and interesting content that can be virtually “cut-up” and stuck back together online in numerous different ways to reflect the individual tastes of each user. If remixing, reinterpreting and sharing interesting content is, as Nielsen suggests, the kind of engaging interaction that draws people to social networks, then
museums should embrace the idea that “everyone is a curator”, both online and offline. Most of the institutions that are adapting their own websites with those facets of the social networks that so many people find attractive are in the US. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York relaunched its website in March. It now includes links to the museum’s online users on various social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Users can also create personal online accounts, which allow them to bookmark upcoming events, create online exhibitions and “collect” works of art via their mobile phone
as they walk around the gallery and view them later on the website. Victor Samra, digital media marketing manager at MoMA, says: “It’s not enough just to broadcast information now. Sharing and participating in discussions are becoming normal activities on the web, so I think people are coming to expect it. People want to engage with content they are really passionate about, and museums have a great opportunity to provide this for them. This helps to change the perception of the museum as a building with four closed walls to an organisation with personality and a human face.”
All museums want to create a dialogue with their audiences, and most museum staff are well aware that the internet can be a useful tool for doing this. But museums
Online activity such as MoMA’s requires investment, both in terms of web development costs and staff time, but if this is where people are and how they are communicating, then, one can argue, museums should be there too. Curators pride themselves on using their collections to analyse issues, provoke reactions and ask difficult questions. But these questions are no longer just being debated over a coffee or in the galleries
themselves; they are also being discussed online, whether it is on social network sites such as Facebook, online discussion forums or the many blogs, and the content prompting these responses is no longer restricted to the four walls it actually inhabits. This means museums and galleries need to expand the sites where they introduce, narrate and edit their programmes. The writer is the managing director of Newcastle-based Sumo, a design consultancy specialising in arts and culture. He is a speaker at the conference, “Communicating the Museum”, in Malaga (24-27 June). www.communicatingthemuseum.com
With newspapers in terminal decline, what future for arts journalism? - Continued from Page 1 ArtsJournal, for example, currently hosts 42 blogs on a variety of arts topics, including the widely read visual arts blogs Modern Art Notes and CultureGrrl. Under such arrangements, bloggers get a cut of the advertising fees along with greater visibility (which can lead to other paid gigs), while the umbrella site captures readers and turns more “sticky”. Something analogous is happening with some established journalism brands. Innovative newspapers like the Guardian in the UK and VG in Norway are putting together a kind of layer-cake of content that attracts a sizable number of online readers. At the top are editorially supervised staff journalists. Below are blogs, written by staff and freelance writers with latitude to shape their content. The third tier is the vast, unsupervised “commentosphere” of opining readers. The whole machinery works in unison to congregate a wide, lucrative ad base. In view of these developments, today’s do-it-yourself blogs are destined to be a transient phenomenon. Many talented arts journalists will carve out a satellite franchise in the orbit of larger media entities. How soon such bloggers can tackle the full journalistic workload left unattended by newspapers is another question. In terms of commentary and plain kibitzing, especially about local arts scenes, we may be there already. When it comes to fair and balanced reporting, the record is mixed. On the one hand, bloggers are breaking stories, with arts organisations (or their disgruntled employees) obliging them with excellent scoops. The Getty Center’s leadership crisis, in 2006, when internal memos trickled to the press via blogs, was an early example. Much “insider baseball” that may not get ink in a newspaper is now routinely covered by blogs. Deaccessioning stories alone have become a minor cottage industry.
However, journalism is not just about scoops. It’s about due diligence, evaluating accuracy, giving subjects an opportunity to respond, and providing non-judgmental context. Such protocols are more likely to be followed under the gaze of professional editors. Major investigative stories are clearly out of reach for even the most intrepid bloggers. Going non-commercial What if audience aggregation won’t make arts journalism into a viable business? Until recently, it was anathema to suggest that newspapers could become not-forprofit organisations. Yet hospitals and museums offer public benefits this way, and so might the press. In fact, a few smaller US papers are already run as non-profits (with mixed results). Specialised art periodicals, such as Cabinet, have for years survived on donations (with excellent results). Going not-forprofit involves some legal and ethical intricacies for the press. Purists worry that journalism could end up in the pockets of foundations with random agendas and short attention spans. Yet, if publishers can keep a “firewall” between their editorial and business operations, they can also do it with donors. There are applicable precedents. The Kaiser Family Foundation supports coverage of healthcare, for example. “The NewsHour” on PBS, one of the most respected TV news shows in the US, has 22 foundation sponsors and two corporate underwriters (Intel and Chevron). Some pay for specific types of journalism—and no outrage, so far, over conflicts of interest. Public radio (NPR), with 33 million weekly listeners (as against the New York Times’ 1 million daily circulation), is a haven for quality arts journalism that attracts some of the best reporters in the business. It has also perfected the
art of raising money for its coverage—from foundations and legions of listeners. Both PBS and NPR receive government support. Only the trained eye can distinguish the “image spots” of foundation and corporate underwriters on public TV from the sort of advertising that populates the commercial airwaves. Some fascinating new web-based funding models appear less suited to rescuing the mainstream media than to helping smaller for-profit or not-for-profit publications. A Bay Area outfit called spot.us has a method for “community funded reporting”, which pools small donations for specific stories. People interested in a proposed story can make a tax-deductible contribution (typical budgets are below $1,000). The money is held in escrow until the entire sum for the story is collected, at which point the writer gets the green light. My current favourite payment model is Kachingle, which promises to “sprinkle change on the blogs you love”. A Kachingle member sets a monthly budget for donations to favourite media sources—say, $50. Beneficiaries are identified by pressing a Kachingle button already found on many sites. Everything happens automatically. The $50 is distributed in proportion to the amount of time the donor spends on each of the chosen sites. Genius. There is a growing realisation that without some form of non-commercial support, certain realms of quality journalism may not survive, especially under current market conditions. Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian has suggested buying newspaper subscriptions for college students—a bailout that would replenish future readers. The Andy Warhol Foundation supports art critics and reporters by means of grants awarded through Creative Capital. In Europe, where such support falls to the state, Jürgen
Habermas, the German sociologist, has urged direct government support for the media. Not to be outdone, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged €600m to aid the press with advertising, tax breaks and student subscriptions. Philanthropy can help to build a new arts journalism infrastructure to offset the collapse of local coverage. Proposals to harness freelance writers in an organised fashion date back to the late 1990s, when David Resnicow and Frederick Schroeder, of the prominent Resnicow Schroeder arts marketing and PR firm, launched an independent company named MuseNews, a national for-profit art news syndicate that sold stories to old and new media outlets for a small fee. The service, which also sought foundation underwriting, was subsequently merged into Bloomberg, where it evolved into the site’s arts and culture section, known to readers of this newspaper as an excellent source of art business reporting. Current proposals for a new kind of art news service are inspired by the success of online news sites such as ProPublica and GlobalPost, which hired top-notch journalists (some recently laid off) to fill blind spots in public affairs and international news coverage, with foundation support. Politico, which was launched by private investors and will soon turn a profit, operates on a similar model, and it has become influential enough to sponsor presidential debates and be called up for a question at President Obama’s first major press conference. Initiatives are currently underway to develop specialised newsgathering operations for science, healthcare and even religion (the Religion News Network). These organisations are recreating alternatives to professional newsrooms with editorial guidance and supervision. According to some estimates, $2m per year—one-fifth of 1% of US foundation arts support—could
ramp up a new arts journalism service. Writers at imperiled publications like the Los Angeles Times are following these developments closely. The real hurdle for non-profit arts journalism, it should be clear, is not technology, or ethics, or a lack of ideas. It is fundraising. To get behind arts writing, foundations and arts patrons would need to steer funds away from their traditional recipients (artists and organisations) towards journalists (who are often considered as adversaries). In other words, a notfor-profit rethink of arts journalism hinges on a rethink of cultural philanthropy. Arts groups step up This brings us to the third, and arguably most controversial, cure for the ills of arts journalism—cultural organisations. Until recently, there was an unambiguous division of labour between arts institutions and the press. One side delivered programming, the other provided exposure, evaluation and public scrutiny. Any suggestion that these roles could blend together would elicit howls of condemnation. But if the marketplace or cultural patrons cannot sustain arts journalism, those with a stake in its survival must come up with alternatives. And it’s already happening. Arts groups are getting better at telling their own stories and directly engaging their constituents. It may not always look like journalism, but it is filling in some gaps. In the US, regional online art hubs are springing up from Chicago to Kansas City, Miami and Los Angeles, supported by coalitions of local arts organisations and philanthropists, to provide information and discussion about the arts. Museums, in particular, have taken the lead in creating an alternative media infrastructure.
MoMA’s recently relaunched website features online groups that allow visitors to explore, create and share information via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and iTunes. London’s Tate (which publishes its own glossy, Tate Etc, billed as “Europe’s largest art magazine”) and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis are among the trailblazers pouring resources into deep, polished, personalised online content and public forums. Some museum sites are, in effect, starting to resemble interactive online art magazines. Their latest features are strikingly similar to the innovations news organisations are deploying to turn their customers into active, participating, loyal partners in the enterprise of journalism. The next step is pooling resources. “What’s the point of having 1,000 museum websites with separate databases of information?” asks Maxwell Anderson, director and chief executive of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), where he recently launched two innovations that bridge the gulf between the press and the visual arts. One is ArtBabble.org, a kind of YouTube for art, with high definition videos gathered from a consortium of art institutions (IMA, MoMA, SFMOMA, Lacma, the New York Public Library, Art 21 and the Smithsonian, at present). In contrast to YouTube, the videos are carefully selected and screened for quality. The transcripts of many of them are searchable, locally or via Google, so that a casual viewer or a researcher can find the exact spot, for example, where Ed Ruscha reminisces about the Cirrus gallery in a documentary produced by Lacma. Visitors to the site can add their own comments and engage in online discussions, just like at any savvy news site. ArtBabble, and others like it, may well develop into future platforms for art criticism and commentary.
Mr Anderson’s other innovation at IMA is a digital “Dashboard”, located on the museum’s website, providing up-to-date statistics on the museum’s administration and performance. An array of digital “widgets” tally up everything from the number of museum members to the total kilowatt-hours of energy consumed daily. Some of the statistics are not for the faint-hearted museum director. One of the IMA widgets tracks the museum’s endowment in monthly snapshots (down $120m since last October). Another chronicles admissions with data generated every five minutes. A catalogue of objects slated for deaccessioning is next, along with their sale price and where the proceeds end up. For Mr Anderson, the Dashboard, with its objective measurements of administrative goings-on, is an antidote to the “risk of institutional control” that pervades most in-house publications. It is no substitute for hardnosed reporters, but for transparency, it’s a start. The hybrid future Amid the doom and gloom about arts journalism, such innovations offer a glimmer of hope. There is no going back to the cultural and advertising dominance that newspapers once enjoyed. We should be mindful that the emerging landscape offers asymmetrical odds for art criticism (which can survive by the labour of individual writers) and arts reporting (which requires institutional firepower and protections). Writers will struggle to reclaim the access and influence they achieved with the backing of prestigious journalism brands. Even so, the faint outlines of a new system are starting to emerge. It’s worth noting that journalism schools are seeing a record surge in applications. Many top institutions, including Columbia, Syracuse, the Annenberg School
at USC, and the City University of New York, have recently launched graduate programmes in cultural journalism. Despite the current meltdown, these are among the most heavily sought after specialisations. Certification may be even more important for freelance writers than for those in accredited newsrooms. Do-it-yourself journalism is expanding so rapidly that it may be sparking its own demand for journalism training. Students may be attracted precisely by the lure of the new and unknown. The most exhilarating aspect of tomorrow’s arts journalism will be its unpredictable hybridity, how it feeds on multiple sources of innovation and energy. It will be an undertaking where nimble entrepreneurs sustain criticism and reporting through a mix of advertising, licensing, social networks, donations, digital space rental, and barter arrangements—whatever works. Boundaries between writers and audiences, channels of communication, and professional constituencies will blur in ways that are at once alarming and hopeful. Our notion of what a “news organisation” or an “art magazine” is supposed to do will be upended as new relationships crystallise between the arts, the media and the public. “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism,” media analyst Clay Shirky observed in his blog recently. “No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper,” he added, “but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need.”
MAY 09 | BUSINESS ART
Cecil Skotnes 1926 – 2009 By Hayden Proud Well before his recent death at the age of 83, Cecil Skotnes had attained something akin to saintly status in the annals of South African art. Prior to his 70th birthday in 1996, he was already the holder of numerous awards. On reaching biblical age he was invested with many further honours. These included several honorary doctorates in Fine Art and the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold. The latter was bestowed in recognition of his work in the ‘deracialisaton’ of the fine arts in South Africa. His nimbus glowed even more brightly in recent years as greater art historical stock was taken of his role as a catalyst in the emergence of a significant urban black art movement in this country.
Cecil Skotnes in his studio 1967.
Photo courtesy Pippa Skotnes
Skotnes’ role at the Polly Street Art Centre coincided with apartheid’s high water-mark in the 1950s and 60s. Although he had fought
against fascism with the South African Army in Italy in his late teens in 1944-45, Skotnes was by nature more of a pacifist than a strident activist. His quiet, persistent example and gentle encouragement gradually opened conduits for dialogue between the separated and vastly unequal worlds of the white and the black South African artist. Serving the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged was a socio-religious imperative that he had been born to; his Norwegian father and his Canadian mother were both active social workers with the Salvation Army in East London. With their example before him, and with time, he realized the parable of the sower. The artistic harvest garnered from the seeds that he planted was great. In the roll-call of black South African artists of the Polly Street era, many also now dead, his tutelage and influence figures prominently. Skotnes’ artistic imagination was
always fired by his contact with original works of art. The work of Italian Renaissance masters such as Giotto, Masaccio and Michelangelo had deeply moved him when he was a young soldier in Florence. Back in Johannesburg at the fledgling Wits Fine Art department in 1947, he was inspired by the teaching of Dr Maria Stein-Lessing, a somewhat eccentric but highly professional art historian whose lively interests straddled Medieval, Modern and African art. It was through her that Skotnes was first introduced to the principles of the German Expressionist woodcut. At that time, printmaking was not yet a feature of the Wits Fine Arts curriculum, but the incised wooden block with the discipline of its planar limitations and its expressive potential was to become the abiding concern of his life’s work as an artist. In a leap of inspiration he decided to make the incised wooden block an independent work of art in
itself, selectively colouring it with pigments. Such wooden panels became major ensemble art works, particularly when integrated within architectural settings, such as at the 1820s Settlers’ Monument in Grahamstown.
as well as in his role developing the bank’s own corporate collection. Alan Crump was the guiding force behind the widely heralded Chagall and Miro exhibitions. His public lectures on art and society were eagerly anticipated because of their power to educate, uplift and entertain.
Barbara Masekela with her first major public opportunity after returning from exile to address a new artistic and cultural vision for South Africa.
After his marriage to Thelma Carter in 1951, the couple toured Europe for nine months during which he gained greater appreciation of the implications of Cubism and Egyptian, pre-classical Greek and Assyrian art. A sojourn in England brought him into contact with the work of Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland. The influence of the latter was profound, informing his interpretation of the South African landscape, which he was to revisit continually in his prints and paintings over the years that followed. It could perhaps be argued that in all of Skotnes’ oeuvre there is also something subliminally present that is redolent of his own Scandinavian ancestral
heritage, which somehow always underpinned and inserted itself into his own efforts at producing an art that embodied the spirit and style of Africa. Herbert Read once referred to the extreme northern parts of Europe as “the preserve of an indigenous prehistoric style”. It was a style that was carried across vast oceans through small precious objects of impeccable craftsmanship, as well as through shallow, painted relief carving in the wooden sections which comprised the longboats of the Vikings. A limited range of motifs and forms was employed, creating patterns of amazing confusion and invention that always respected the forms that held them. In the life and work of Cecil Skotnes, something of that Scandinavian aesthetic persisted; its pioneering spirit enriching and fertilizing the artistic soil of South Africa.
Alan Crump 1949 – 2009 By J. Brooks Spector Artist, educator, Alan Crump passed away on May 1, 2009, almost sixty years to the day he was born in Durban. He had attended the Michaelis School of Art for BA and MA Fine Arts degrees and he received a Fulbright Scholarship for an MFA at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Photo courtesy Lynette Marais
Before studying for America, he taught at Michaelis for a year. Returning from Los Angeles, he became a lecturer and then senior lecturer in art history at UNISA. Joining the University of the Witwatersrand in 1980, he became Professor and Head of the Department of Fine Arts -- at the age of 31. Alan Crump had a wellearned reputation for intensity and exuberance as an educator. One
MAY’S ART PERSONALITY
Crump was a legendary convivial host and guest who loved a great story, a sharp, well-argued discussion about art, sports (he had been an avid rugby player and runner as a student) or politics – just as
A capstone of his career would have been the opening of an exhibition at the 2009 Grahamstown Festival, marking a quarter century of Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners. Sadly, while he will not be present at the opening, his influence assuredly will be. As he, himself, had said a half decade earlier at the opening of the Bonnie Ntshalinshali Museum, ‘When someone dies, it is what they leave behind that counts, the objects and the residue of their thoughts.
Artist Andrew Verster receives honourary Doctorate Andrew Verster is receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Concurrent with the award, the DUT Art Gallery will be showcasing Verster’s artworks, from 21 April to 18 May, which are part of the university’s art collection. Last year Verster, who is turning 72 this year, launched his recent publication/book, edited by Carol Brown in celebration of his 70th birthday. Verster has been a practising artist for over 50 years, leaving teaching in 1976 to become a full time painter. Born in 1937 Johannesburg, he was trained at the Camberwell School of Art and Reading University. He has lectured at the University of Durban Westville (then University College, Durban) and Technikon Natal (now DUT) until 1976 when he gave up teaching to become a full-time painter. Andrew has been a member of the Film and Publication Review Board, Trustee of the Durban Art Gallery, the Arts Work Trust, Very Special Arts, Artists for Human Rights Trust and the African Art Centre. He also served on the Committee of the Grahamstown Festival. He has had over fifty solo exhibitions, is represented in many major public and private collections, and has been awarded two retrospective exhibitions organised by the Durban Art Gallery. To learn more about the artist visit his website www.andrewverster.co.za
chats with Michael Coulson
mad to open an art gallery, with the townships going up in flames”) and, with just R60 in the bank, opened up on his own in Grant Avenue, directly opposite his present site, which he moved to 10 years later. He takes pride in the fact that the gallery has always been selffinancing: he’s never borrowed money or had a backer. For years he staged solo exhibitions every two or three weeks year-round, showcasing names like Jean Doyle, Michael Costello, Robin Kearney, Ulrich Schwanecke, John Brett Cohen, Fred Schimmel, Norman Eaglestone, Fleur Ferri, Donna White, Simon Parkin, Robert Haber and Leon Sorianos. Some couldn’t stand the pace, some moved on to (possibly) greater things, but others have remained loyal. These days, he’s slackened his own pace, cutting back the hectic schedule to a group anniversary show in the first half of the year and half a dozen or so solo shows in the second half, by regular members of his stable: Peter Bonney, Russian-born Dimitri Nikashin, Daan Vermeulen, Roelof Rossouw, Geoff Horne and others. Basically, while they have widely differing styles, all are realistic landscape painters, though he also carries sculptures by the likes of Laurence Chait. This is no accident, either; even in his schooldays he admired Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth, pictures that tell stories. “Any picture you can go travelling in is a good work.” Though this has become his unique selling proposition, it was not always thus. He remembers bringing the first David Hockney graphics to SA, and selling them for a few hundred rand. And in 1980 he was arrested for selling pornography, for an exhibition of erotica inspired by the Kama Sutra, by Tatu Penrith. Today he admits that this was a
Beyond his role as a university instructor, Alan Crump was active in the larger public dimensions of arts and culture education. He was an arts advisor to the Standard Bank, serving as curator or consultant for numerous exhibitions at the bank’s gallery,
In 1984, Alan Crump joined the Grahamstown National Arts Festival’s Governing Committee, recognizing the responsibility of educators to engage with society beyond the academy. He became Festival Committee chair during a particularly contentious decade, helping steer the festival to address the revolutionary changes taking place in South Africa. Among many important moments, the festival provided ANC Arts and Culture Spokesperson,
Beyond his role as an educator, Crump was a sculptor and a consummate watercolour artist and his works are in private and corporate collections around the country – and beyond. He found unlikely beauty in a mine dump or cast off industrial artifacts and Linda Givon once called him South Africa’s first real conceptual artist.
he loved to share a good glass of South African wine with friends.
IN THE LIMELIGHT
Chris Crake of the Crake Gallery Johannesburg Think of long-established Jo’burg galleries, and you think of the Goodman and Everard Read. But there’s a third that’s survived well into its fourth decade, and unlike the other two is still run by its founder: the Crake Gallery in Norwood, run by the eponymous Chris Crake. Crake has in fact been involved in the art world for more than 40 years. Late in 1968, he was sitting in the legendary Chesa coffee bar in the Rand Central building when he noticed an old lady putting up a Sit Vac sign in a shop window opposite. On inquiry, he was sent up to the old lady’s premises on the first floor. The premises were Gallery 101; the old lady, the legendary Madame Haenggi. Despite his waistlength hair and generally hippyish appearance, she took him on. And he’s stayed in the business ever since. Not that it was an entirely random choice of career. Art was the only subject he enjoyed at school, and had economics permitted he might even have become an artist. But the need to put bread on the table (he became a father in 1970) precluded that. Crake says he learnt more from Madame Haenggi than from anyone, and it was a wrench to leave when he was approached to take over the Madden Gallery in Sandton, whose backers included businessman Wilfred Robin and London-based expat Solly Rissen, whose sister Jean Madden ran the Madden Gallery in London. Crake extended Madden’s range from international to SA art, and tried to promote local artists like Keith Alexander, Vic Guhrs, Claude Jammet and others abroad. Looking back, he says this was a good idea, but ahead of its time. After some years it was time to take the next step. In 1979 he took the plunge (“Everybody said I was
student fondly recalled Crump entering her class on the first day of lectures, surveying his new students, and then striding away from the lecture hall, wearing red leather, bell-bottomed trousers. He was equally enthusiastic in his commitment to emerging young artists, championing artists like Willliam Kentridge and Penny Siopis, early on in their careers. He was a passionate advocate for arts awards that came with real benefits, saying ‘Artists should get an incentive for their work’.
publicity stunt, when a friend put on the guise of an old lady and complained to the police. Fortunately, he wasn’t charged, and now says “It was the best publicity we ever had.” But, he says, the developing focus on realism reflects both his own preference, and that of his clientele, corporate and individual, who are “basically conservative” in their tastes. He also says he’s not into “investment art”. “People buy from me for love and life. In 33 years, I don’t think I’ve had 20 pictures come back for resale. You have a different responsibility to people who spend R400 000 on a painting than when they pay R40 000. I want my artists to be accessible and good value.” So his artists must have staying power, and though he tries to introduce a couple of new names in his annual group shows, he concedes that he’s reached a stage of life where he won’t be around for ever, so he hasn’t much time to build up new names – not easy in current conditions, in any event. “You have to do a lot of work behind the scenes to make a successful solo show. You have to call round all your regular clients and promote the work. And that’s hard, if they’ve never heard of the artist. So those who’ve been with me for 25 years are naturally in the front seats.” Persistence and hard work are the keys to the success and longevity of the Crake Gallery. It’s a lesson the hopefuls who think all you have to do is put work on the wall and smile as the buyers pour in, so many of whom have flickered – perhaps even flourished, briefly -- across the gallery scene since Crake set out on his career would do well to ponder.
William Kentridge on the Times Magazine 100 cover
Dale Yudelman poster for Month of Photography
Lynette Marais, recieves honorary Doctorate Rhodes University will be conferring honorary doctorate degrees on Lynette Marais, who was the National Arts Festival director for 20 years, will be receiving a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa. Marais has been recognised as one of South Africa’s most accomplished arts administrators. Her advice is constantly sought out by festival producers, arts funders and the government. Since taking over the leadership in 1989, she has grown the National Arts Festival to become the largest arts festival on the African continent. John Meyer – Schloss Gottorf Museum Award, Germany The South African painter John Meyer has won a prestigious comtemporary art award from the Museum Schloss Gottorf in Germany. The prize is one of the most important international art awards in Germany, and the museum will host Meyer at their International Museum’s Day on May 17th this year, when up to 20,000 visitors are expected. Gottorf Palace is the largest museum complex in northern Germany and is the headquarters of Schleswig Holstein’s state museums. They regularly enjoy 650 000 visitors visiting a single exhibition. The award was established by the German entrepreneur Gunter Fielmann in 2000, after his donation of 200 lime trees for an avenue in the Gottorf Baroque Gardens at the museum. The prize is regarded in Germany as a prize of honour. He has been commissioned by the director of the Gottorf, Professor Guratzsch, to produce two works this year for the museum. http://www.everard-read-capetown.co.za Dale Yudelman gets Profoto Prize Dale Yudelman was among the top professional photographers who were honored at the Sony Profoto Awards held recently in Sandton, Johannesburg. Yudelman, who lives and works in Cape Town, won six awards - including Gold’s in the Advertising and Fine Art categories. His series of images , “ i am…” was awarded ‘Professional Portfolio of the Year’ Kentridge hits the top of the Times Magazine “100 World’s Most Influential People” pops Our William has hit the top top of the media pops with being selected as one of The Worlds Most Influential People (under artists). see www.time.com for more details.(Thanks to Artheat fot the tip-off) Moving on - Suzelle Kriel- Director of The US Museum and Art Gallery Moves on After nearly six very happy years at the US Museum and Art Gallery is leaving for Robertson to pick up on exciting projects. Colijn Strydom will be acting Gallery Manager until an appointment has been made.
Peter Hayes is the new Director at Vansa Western Cape. Peter has emerged from a cutting edge theatre background, and as a writer, actor and director with Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective has earned his reputation. Amongst his many talent he has worked in film, owned Gorgeous Restaurant for a number of years and was the creative director for MCQP for 2 years. As he says in his own words “ I feel fantastically out of the loop! I don’t know who’s in and who’s out, who’s hot and why and why sleeping with so-and-so is the fastest way to the top. But I do know who I think is hot and I’m a passionate, if under resourced, collector of contemporary South African art. I want to help facilitate more networking opportunities, workshops and training, market platforms. Making your lives easier and your careers more sustainable is our mission here at VANSA and I am mightily excited to be here”.
Peter Hayes, does good with “Fast Girls” outside Joburg Art Fair
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special ends 1 June 09
SOUTH AFRICAN ART GALLERY SHOW LISTINGS MAY 2009 Eastern Cape
East London Ann Bryant Art Gallery Until 9 May, Anything but painting, East London Fine Art Society exhibition. Until 16 May, Four Contemporary Chinese Artists. 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London T. 043 722 4044, Annbryant@intekom.co.za
Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg For May, Sharing / Shared, exhibition including artists: Wayne Barker, Bongi Bengu, Zanele Mashinini, Mmkgabo Mapula (Helen) Sebidi, Stompie Selibe, Pene Meniere, Ilana Seati, Isa Schwartz Gesseau. 17 Lower Park Drive (corner of Kerry Road, Parkview, Johannesburg. T. 011 646 1169 www.alliance.org.za
Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum 7 May-12 Jul, Scenes in the Street, through the eyes of artists and photographers; Until 26 May, Recent acquisitions of top SA Artists’ work; Until 2 May, Art Talk, exploring narrative, iconography and expression, featuring Kentridge, Siopis & Verster. 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth, T. 041 506 2000 www.artmuseum.co.za
Bloemfontein Oliewenhuis Art Museum Until 15 May, Transitions, Travelling Exhibition and film, by Paul Emmanuel. Until 24 May, Decade, Highlights from 10 years of collecting from the Sanlam Art Collection. 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein T. 051 447 9609 Clarens Johan Smith Art Gallery Glass, Bronze, Ceramics, Old Masters, Contemporary works. Windmill Centre Main Street Clarens T. 058 256 1620 www.johansmith.co.za Blou Donki Art Gallery Contemporary Art, Steel Sculptures, Functional Art, Photography, Ceramics. Windmill Centre Main Street Clarens T. 058 256 1757 www.bloudonki.co.za
Johannesburg Artspace - JHB 6-30 May, Walking the line, group exhibition featuring printmaking and drawing by Toni Ballenden, Elizabeth Gunter, Ernest Korkie, Ian Marley, Jody Olen, Craig Smith, Colijn Strydom, Jaco van der Heever and Judy Woodborne Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg. T. 011 880 8802 www.artspace-jhb.co.za Brodie/Stevenson Until 30 May, The frontier is never somewhere else, a solo exhibition of paintings by Mary Wafer. Until 30 May, Project 004: Sibusiso Duma. 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034, www.artextra.co.za Art on Paper Until 16 May, Drawings by Walter Battis. 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf (Milpark), T. 011 726 2234 www.artonpaper.co.za David Krut Projects 7 May-13 Jun, Into the Spine, paintings and prints by Maja Maljevic. 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627 www.davidkrutpublishing.com Everard Read Gallery Jhb Until 17 May, Paintings by Peter Kuhfeld. 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg T. 011 788 4805 www.everard.co.za Gallery MOMO Until 11 May, group show. 14 May-8 Jun, Solace of a Migrant, Paintings by Zambian artist Stary Mwaba. 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg T.011 327 3247 www.gallerymomo.com Gallery on the Square 6–20 May, Nelson Makamo, A Place I Call Home. 32 Maude Street, Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City, Sandton, Johanesburg. T. 011 784 2847
Goodman Gallery Until 23 May, Peter Friedl; 28 May-Jun, Nation State. 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, T. 011 788 1113 www.goodman-gallery.com Nirox Foundation and Goodman Gallery Until 5 Jun, Contemporary Sculpture in the Landscape, various artists, at the Cradle of Humankind. Contact the Goodman Gallery for viewing and walkabouts, by appointment only. T. 011 788 1113 www.goodman-gallery.com GordArt Gallery Until 9 May, WTF?, 12 paintings by Debbie Cloete. GordArt Project Room (Upstairs)Until 9 May, Life is Jazz, drawings and collages by Stompie Selebi. 16 May–6 Jun, paintings by Severa Rech Casserino. Shop 1 Parkwood Mansions, 144 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, T/F 011 880 5928 firstname.lastname@example.org Graham Fine Art Gallery South African Investment Art, From the permanent collection; Auction of the Brett Kebble art collection: viewing: 4-6 May. Auction at Summerplace, 7 May. Shop 31, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Valley & Cedar Roads Fourways, Johannesburg. T.011 465 9192 www.grahamsgallery.co.za Johannesburg Art Gallery 10 May-03 Jul, Journey on a Tightrope an Albert Adams Retrospective. Until 7 Jun, For Tshepo, Ten Years Later, Mphapho “Ra” Hlasane, Artist at the Nando’s Project Room #4. Until 3 Jul, Portraiture through Photography, curated by Khwezi Gule, in the Basement Gallery. On 19 May 2009, International Museums Day, including work by the late Cecil Skotnes. King George Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3180 www.joburg.org.za Market Photo Workshop Until 13 May 2009, Reunion Chroniques, explores the landscape, culture, and identity of Réunion Island. Photographers include François-Louis Athenas, Raymond Barthes, Thierry Fontaine, Yo-Yo Gonthier, Line Leclerc, Edgar Marsy, René-Paul Savignan, and Laurent Zitte. Until 10 May, CéTàVOIR – Image Singuliéres, a body of work by eight students at a photo festival in Sète, France alongside work by David Goldblatt. From 20 May, Tierney Fellowship Exhibition, A solo show by Tracy Edser. T. 011 834 1444 www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za Museum Africa 25 May-24 Dec 2010, l’Afrique: A Tribute to Maria Stein-Lessing and Leopold Spiegel; Co-curated by Nessa Leibhammer and Natalie Knight. 121 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg, T. 011 833 5624 www.knightgalleries.net National School of the Arts 11-16 May, 8th Annual Festival of Fame, 17 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein, T. 011 339 6539 www.festivaloffame.co.za Obert Contemporary at Melrosearch Current show, Untitled, by Mark Erasmus 14 The High Street, Melrose Arch, T. 011 684 1214 www.obertcontemporary.com Origins Centre 28 May-24 Jul, Exposition, Solo exhibition by Fiona Couldridge. Cnr Yale and Enoch Santonga Str. University of the Witwatersrand T. 011 717 4700 www.origins.org.za Resolution Gallery Until 17 June, Disasters, Angel Haro, Michael Wille, Vulindlela Nyoni. 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood,
Johannesburg T. 011 880 4054 www.resolutiongallery.com Rooke Gallery Until 01 May, The Travels of Bad, Major Solo Exhibition and publication by Zander Blom. By Appointment, The Newtown, 37 Quinn Street Newtown Johannesburg. T. 072 658 0762 www.rookegallery.co.za Standard Bank Gallery Until 23 May, Past/Present, Andrew Verster. Art & Artifact Gallery, Until 23 May, Eduardo Villa Miniatures. Cnr. Simmonds & Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, 2001 Tel: 011 631 1889 www.standardbankgallery.co.za Seippel Gallery Until 27 Jun, Project Gallery, Street Scenes, recent paintings by Linda Shongwe; Main Gallery, Sculptures and installations by Kevin Brand, Vincent Baloyi and Danelle Janse van Rensberg. August House, 76-82 End Street, Doornfontein. T. 011 401 1421 www.seippel-gallery.com The Art Place, Gallery & Art Centre 16 May-6 Jun, The World of Pamela Prendini, Classical oils, drawings and sculptures in the footsteps of the Italian Masters 144 Milner Ave,Roosevelt Park, T 011 888-9120 University of Johannesburg Arts Centre Gallery 6–20 May, Coração,(heart), 25 art works by South African and international artists, will be exhibited with 10 works by Canadians; Hendrikus Bervoets, renowned collage artist and award winning photographer, Dave Chidley also on show. University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Kingsway campus cnr. Kingsway and Universiteits Rd, Auckland Park T. 011 559 2099/2556 www.uj.ac.za/artsacademy Warren Siebrits Modern & Contemporary Art Until 8 May, Main Gallery, Joburg Art Fair exhibition. 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, T. 011 327 0000 www.warrensiebrits.co.za Pretoria Alette Wessels Kunskamer Exhibition of Old Masters and selected leading contemporary artists. Maroelana Centre, Maroelana. GPS : S25º 46.748 EO28º 15.615 T. 012 346 0728 C. 084 589 0711 www.artwessels.co.za Fried Contemporary Art Gallery Until 16 May, Four women and a man, Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, Anna Gous, Jackie Schoombie, Marina Aucamp, Esme Kruger. 430 Charles Str, Brooklyn, Pretoria T. 012 346 0158 www.friedcontemporary.com Glass Forming Academy 30 May, 2009, Featuring international glass artists: PETER BREMERS (Holland) + TIM SHAW (Australia. Glass Forming Events and Exhibits from 15h00 till 20h00 Shop 11, Greenlyn Centre Cnr. Thomas Edison & 13th Ave, Menlopark Pretoria 083 530 2800 email@example.com Magpie Gallery 02-14 May; Justified Jotting: Drawn out; An exhibition of drawn out jottings by more than 25 artists. Shop 21B, Southdowns Shopping Centre, Centurion T. 012 665 1832 www.magpie.co.za Naude Modern Until 27 May, Chimera, exhibition by Paul Boulitreau, 254a St Patrick’s Road, Muckleneuk Ridge, Pretoria, T. 012 440 2201 www.art.co.za/andrenaude Pretoria Art Museum
PAM - North Gallery, Until Jul, an interesting selection of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection. PAM – South Gallery, Until 1 Dec, A selection of artworks tells a brief story of South African art from the time of the first San artists, includes early 20th century painters, Resistance artists and artists of the 21st century. PAM - Albert Werth Hall, 14 May16 Aug, Mbongeni Buthelezi’s first touring national exhibition of “plastic painting”.
PAM - East Gallery, until 22 Jun, from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, Artists from Polly Street and Rorke’s Drift Glass Gallery, Corobirk Collection, ceramics selection representing studio ceramics and rural traditional potters of SA T.012 344 1807/8 firstname.lastname@example.org Pretoria Association of Arts 10-28 May, Paintings by Johan Marais, Art creations in wood by At Smit. Main Gallery, Until 7 May, Jaco Benade & M J Lourens. Until 13 May, Galerie Chaton / Black Box, Mimi van der Merwe. 15 May-3 Jun, Sybrand Wiechers. North Gallery, Until 21 May, Penny Baillie 173 Mackie Street, New Muckleneuk, Pretoria, Gauteng, 0181, Tel. (012) 346 3100 www.artsassociationpta.co.za UNISA Art Gallery Until 08 May, Then and now, Images by 8 SA Photographers: Graeme Williams, Gisele Wulfsohn, Paul Weinberg, Eric Miller, George Hallett, David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim and Cedric Nunn. Theo van Wijk Building, Goldfields entrance, 5th floor. Unisa Campus, Pretoria. T.012 429 6823 www.unisa.ac.za/gallery
Durban Art Space - DBN Until 9 May, Obsessive Urge to Categorize: an exhibition of painting, mixed media and video by Nic Crooks; Masterful Conversations by Lee Scott Hempson; In the Front Room: Hole in the Wall an exhibition of mixed media works by Jacki Bruniquel, 11-30 May, Responses, paper-works and oil paintings by Roz Cryer. 1–20 Jun, Signature Works on Paper (SWOP,Travelling Exhibition from Inky Cuttlefish Studios; Inkanyezi, Anna Alcock. 3 Millar Road, Durban. T.031 312 0793 www.artspacedurban.co.za Bank Gallery Until 28 May, Situation, works by Vaughn Sadie at the Bank Gallery. Bank Gallery, Morningside, Durban T. 031 312 6911, www.bankgallery.co.za Durban Art Gallery 13 May-28 Jun, Sacred Legacy, Reproductions of historical photographs of Native North Americans by legendary photographer/ethnographer Edward Curtis. 3 Jun-19 Jul, Roger Ballen: Boarding House. Until 17 May, Not Alone, an international project of Make Art-Stop Aids, curated by Carol Brown and David Gere. Until Dec 2009, Pic(k) Of The DAG, South African works from the gallery’s Permanent Collection. Second Floor, City Hall, Anton Lembede Street, Durban T. 031 311 2268 www.durban.gov.za/durban/discover/museums/dag Durban University of Technology (DUT) Gallery Until 18 May, Andrew Verster Steve Biko Campus, Cecil Renaud Theatre 2nd floor,Durban email@example.com or 031 373 2207 KZNSA Gallery Until 10 May, Big Night Out, Group Exhibition. Until 10 May, In the Cinema, Mlu Zondi, Despotica: performance art video. Until 10 May, KZNSA Members professional practice course exhibition, Liam Lynch. Until 20 May, ‘Not Alone - An international project of Make Art/Stop Aids’ includes works by artists from Brazil, the USA, India and South Africa in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography and embroidery. 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, T. 031 2023686, www.kznsagallery.co.za Tatham Art Gallery Schreiner Gallery: Until 3 May, Zotha Shange, Rolling Ball Sculpture exhibition; Ceramics Room: Curriculum Curricula exhibition - Ceramics and Applied arts, exhibition extended. Until 7 May, Main Exhibition Room, KZN Matric Art Exhibition. From 7 May, Schreiner Gallery: Settling In, a solo exhibition by Vulindlela Nyoni. Cnr. Of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Rd. and Church
Street (Opposite City Hall) Pietermaritzburg. T. 033 342 1804 www.tatham.org.za
Northern Cape Kimberley William Humphreys Art Gallery Permanent Collection Exhibition - Includes works of a variety of contemporary SA artists Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent, Kimberley, T. 053 831 1724, www.museumsnc.co.za
Mpumalanga White River The Loop Art Foundry & Sculpture Gallery Casterbridge Complex Corner R40 and Numbi Roads White River T. 013 751 2435 www.tlafoundry.co.za
Western Cape Cape Town 34 Long Until 16 May, MIXIT, compilation of works in various media by seventeen artists, including MOTEL7, Faith47, Black Koki, Kentridge, Dumas, Bester, Murakami, D*Face, Blek le Rat, Matthew Hindley and Asha Zero. Until 16 May, Prehistoric idols, works by Paul du Toit. 34 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 426 4594, www.34long.com Alex Hamiltion Art Studio Until 8 May, Afrotize, is a new series of pop art, stenciled works by Cape Town artist, Alex Hamilton. Unit B203, 2nd floor, Woodstock Industrial Centre, 66-68 Albert Road, Woodstock, T. 021 447 2396 www.alexhamilton.co.za Art B Gallery From 20 May, b.lettered exhibition a traditional application of the Calligraphic art form, including handmade books, citations, special awards and metal mobiles, jewellery and examples of beach calligraphy. Work of international calligraphers will also be exhibited On display will be the tools of the trade and materials. Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville T. 021 918 2301, www.artb.co.za Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Until 08-21 May, Out of Sight, drawings, watercolours and photography, solo exhibition by Justin Brett. 35 Church Street, Cape Town, T. 021 424 7436, www.ava.co.za Atlantic Art Gallery A permanent display showcasing leading contemporary South African artists. 25 Wale Street Cape Town, T. 021 423 5775 Bell-Roberts Contemporary Art Gallery Until 16 May, In Black and White, group exhibition features works by Pierre Fouché, Carol Ann Gainer, Nigel Mullins, Cameron Platter, Kevin Brand, Wayne Barker, Mxolisi Sithole, Stuart Bird, Dianne Victor, Cara vd Westhuizen, Justin Fiske, Donovan Ward, Minnette Vari, Jane Eppel, David Brown and Lynette Bester. Until 16 May, Tales from the Mantelpiece, an exhibition of small-scale sculpture by three contemporary artist jewelers, Philippe Bousquet, Geraldine Fenn and Marchand van Tonder 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, T. 021 465 9108 www.bell-roberts.com Blank Projects Trifecta, a project in three parts by Deadheat (Dorothee Kreutzfeldt & Bettina Malcomess: Image, opening 6 May; Voice, opening 13 May, Screen, opening 21 May. 198 Buitengracht Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, T.072 1989 221, www.blankprojects.blogspot.com Cape Gallery Until 09 May, recent paintings, watercolours and etchings by Marilyn Southey and paintings by Jenny Northard; Until 30 May, New paintings in oil and etchings by Diane Johnson-Ackerman. 60 Church Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 5309 www.capegallery.co.za
Cape Town School of Photography Until 15 May, Jurgen Schadeberg; 18-29 May, Andrew McIleron. 4th Floor, 62 Roeland Street, Cape Town, 021 4652152 www.ctsp.co.za Christopher MǾller Art 14-30 May, Blue, group show: Margot Hattingh, Brigitte Berg, Diane Mc Naughton, Ros Molteno, Adele Gordon, Judy Mckune, Jen Lewis, Anne Terblanche, Odette Marais, Christine Cherry-Jones, Jeoff Burr, David Porter, Susan Hall and Margaret Curry 82 Church Street, Cape Town, T. 021 439 3517 www.christophermollerart.co.za David Porter Antiques Buyers and sellers of South African art T. 021 6830580/083 452 5862 firstname.lastname@example.org Erdmann Contemporary / Photographers Gallery 6-30 May, Left of November, a painting exhibition by Bronwen Vaughan-Evans & Deanne Donaldson. 63 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town T. 021 422 2762 www.erdmanncontemporary.co.za Everard Read Gallery - CT Until 13 May, Kerri Evans Portswood Rd, V&A Waterfront www.everard-read-capetown.co.za T. 021 418 4527 Focus Contemporary, Fine Young Art For May, O Sumo San, Photography by Philippe Marinig. 2 Long Street Cape Town, T. 021 419 8888, www.focuscontemporary.co.za Gallery F 8 May-end Jun, The spirit of District 6 collection, photography by Cloete Breytenbach. 221 Long Street, Cape Town, T. 021 422 5246 www.galleryf.co.za Gallery Odes For May, The Unbearable likeness of seeing; by Gordon Clark The Old Biscuit Mill, 357 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town T. 021 423 4687 www.gordonclark.co.za Goodman Gallery, Cape For May, Thomas Mulcaire, The exhibition establishes relationships between objects, images, curatorial projects and institutional works. 3rd Floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, Cape Town T. 021 462 7573/4, www.goodmangallerycape.com Infin Art Gallery Wolfe Street Chelsea Wynberg T. 021 761 2816 and Buitengracht St Cape Town T. 021 423 2090 www.infinart.co.za Irma Stern Museum Until 9 May, Exodus, works by Roxandra Dardagan Britz. 12 -30 May, Themes and Variations; earth, water, ice, mixed media works on canvas by Ursula Niblett Zeller. Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town T. 021 685 5686 www.irmastern.co.za Iziko South African National Gallery Until 14 Jun, The Tropics, Views from the middle of the globe; Until Jul 09, Scratches on the Face. Until 10 May, Wonderland: Nontsikelelo Veleko, Standard Bank Young Artist 2008; Until end May, What We See. Voice, Image and Versioning, at the Iziko Slave Lodge; Until 28 Jun, ‘Dis-ease’, a collection of recent video art drawn from the Rijksakademie archives, curated by Greg Streak. Government Avenue, Company’s Garden T. The 021 467 4660, www.iziko.org.za João Ferreira Gallery 6-29 May, Two men and their dogs and other works, sculptures by David Brown. 70 Loop Street,Cape Town, T. 021 423 5403 www.joaoferreiragallery.com Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery SA Master Paintings; By Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser, JH Pierneef, Hugo Naudé, Ruth Prowse, Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Gregoire Boonzaier, as well as contemporary works by Walter Meyer, Jacobus Kloppers, Hussein Salim, Ben Coutouvidis, Hennie Niemann Jnr, Philip Barlow,
Marlene von Dürckheim and others. In-Fin-Art Building, Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 6075/082 5664631 www.johansborman.co.za Kalk Bay Modern Until 15 May,Paintings and Prints by Nicolaas Maritz. 1st Floor, Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Road Kalk Bay. T.021 788 6571 email@example.com
Lindy van Niekerk Art Gallery Exhibition of SA’s leading artists. 31 Kommandeur Road, Welgemoed, Belville T. 021 913 7204/5 www.artpro.co.za
Lipschitz Gallery 18 May, Book/DVD launch by artist Stanley Grootboom, From 4 May: a selection of South African artists, including Stanley Grootboom, Amos Langdown, Dumisani Mbaso, Thomas Kgope, Sam Nhlengethwa, Pieter Van Der Westhuizen and others. Hill House, Number One Main Street, Plettenberg Bay, T. 044 533 4581 www.southafricanart.co.za
Kunst House 62 Kloof Street, Gardens, T. 021 422 1255 www.kunsthouse.co.za Michael Stevenson Contemporary Until 30 May, Paintings by Penny Siopis; The encounter by Nandipha Mntambo; Lunga Kama, Here I Am. Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town, T. 021 462 1500 www.michaelstevenson.com Raw Vision Gallery For May, Messages from the Future, digital prints by Mike Fisher 89 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. firstname.lastname@example.org Muti Gallery Until 4 Jun, Solo exhibition by Gabrielle Raaff. 3 Vredehoek Avenue, Oranjezicht, T. 021 465 3551 email@example.com Rust-en-Vrede 5-28 May, On the surface, by Mervyn Gers. 10 Wellington Road, Durbanville. T. 021 976 4691 www.rust-en-vrede.com Salon 91 Contemporary Until 10 May, Through the looking glass, Mixed Media paintings by Dagmar Sissolak. Until 20 May, Lorenzo Nassimbeni’s latest wallpaper/fabric designs, illustrations and original drawings. 91 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town 021 424 6930 www.salon91art.co.za These Four Walls Fine Art Galley Until 9 May,Lifeboat, works by Maya Marshak 169 Lower Main Road, Observatory, T. 021 447 7393. www.thesefourwalls.co.za Urban Contemporary Art 06 May-27 Jun, Nuance, work by four painters and a sculptor, Catherine Ochulla, Maricel Albertyn, Lionel Smit, Varenka Paschke and Jonathan Munnik. 46 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town T. 021 447 4132, www.urbancontemporaryart.co.za The South African Print Gallery Until 23 May, Tributes: Sam Nhlengethwa and Friends, showcases Nhlengethwa’s Tribute Series in dialogue with works by Peter Clarke, Marlene Dumas, William Kentridge, David Koloane and Judith Mason. 107 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, T. 021 462 6851 www.printgallery.co.za What if the World… 05-24 May, Sing into my mouth, Works by Bridget Baker, Emma Coleman, Sue Clark, Tom Cullberg, Anja de Klerk, Barend de Wet, Peter Eastman, Teboho Edkins, Gus Ferguson, Gimberg & Nerf, Douglas Gimberg, Matthew Hindley, Pieter Hugo, Mandy Lee Jandrell, John Nankin, Sarah Nankin, Cameron Platter, Andrew Putter, Gregg Smith, Doreen Southwood, James Webb, Ed Young. Curated by Julia Rosa Clark. First floor, 208 Albert Road Woodstock T. 021 448 1438 www. whatiftheworld.com
Franschoek Gallery Grande Provence Until 27 May, Relate: A duo exhibition featuring the works of a father and son, a sculptor and painter, Anton Smit + Lionel Smit. Main Road Franschoek, T. 021 876 8600 www.grandeprovence.co.za
Knysna Fine Art From 8 May, Considering Therianthropes Animal Human, new works by Guy Thesen. 1-08 May, The Tattoo Show. 8 Grey Street Knysna, T.044 382 5107 www.finearts.co.za Plettenberg Bay
George Strydom Gallery A Selection of South African art Marklaan Centre, 79 Market Street, George, T. 044 874 4027. www.artaffair.co.za Stellenbosch Dorp Straat Gallery 12-31 May, Anya Adendorff, Madelein Marincowitz and Anthony Sherratt 144 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 2256 www.dorpstraatgalery.co.za Red Black and White 14-30 May, South-African Ceramics: Linnware, Kalahari, Rorke’s Drift & Anglo-Oriental Ceramics. Until 09 May, Brotherhood 2009 curated by Johann du Plessis. 5a Distillery Road, Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch. T. 021 886 6281 www.redblackandwhite.co.za Sasol Art Museum Until 13 Jun, Johann Louw, a midcareer retrospective. 52 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch. T. 021 808 3695 www.sun.ac.za/museum University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery 7-30 May, SRC Photo & Art Competition. Stellenbosch University, cnr of Bird and Dorp Streets, Stellenbosch T. 021 808 3489 www.sun.ac.za/artgallery SMAC Art Gallery Until 10 May, Locations, works by Jonathan Guaitamacchi; Until 10 May, Echoes, paintings by Jake Aikman. De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 3607 www.smacgallery.com Stellenbosch Art Gallery Permanent exhibition of Conrad Theys, John Kramer, Gregoire Boonzaier, Adriaan Boshoff and other artists. 34 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch T. 021-8878343 www.stellenboschartgallery.co.za Hermanus Abalone Gallery Until 8 May, Anthology, Lien Botha. 2 Harbour Rd, The Courtyard, Hermanus. T. 028 313 2935 www.abalonegallery.co.za Philip Harper Galleries Specialising in South African old masters and select contemporary artists. Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Rod, Hermanus T. 028 312 4836 www. philipharpergalleries.co.za
Please E-mail us your art gallery listings at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 09 | BUSINESS ART
Johannesburg viewing at Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s
Henry White and Michael Goodman, avid art collectors, with the William Kentridge “The Highveld Style Masked Ball” in the background.
Mr & Mrs Jansenns, Bevan Rees, of Saronsberg Wine Estate, Thandi Puren & Karen-Leigh Devaux de Marigny of Stephan Welz and Company
Work from the “Nothing new” exhibition, George, Western Cape
Drip Series 2, 120 x 120cm, Oil on Canvas, 2009, Lionel Smit. Nuance, opening at UCA Gallery on 6 May, contains work by four painters and a sculptor – Catherine Ochulla, Maricel Albertyn, Lionel Smit, Varenka Paschke and Jonathan Munnik – who speak to the body as a site of social and emotional politics. Cooperatively, the work suggests that beauty lies rather in a body’s subtle deviations from the physical ideal than in the ideal itself. www.ucagallery.co.za
Work from the show “Nothing new” held at The Strydom Galery, George in April. This jewel of an art gallery in the platterland has just celebrated its 40th birthday and is growing from strenth to strength. for more infrmation se www.artaffair.co.za
Fiona Ewan Rowett Having used natural form as a starting point Fiona Ewan Rowett is presently drawn to the fundamental, more challenging abstract composition. Working intuitively, she searches for that elusive combination of subconscious mark making and the pulling and pushing of elements to find a sense of closure. Her passion is not to describe the world as she sees it but to delve into the invisible world of sensation, dreams - that space between.
National School Of The Arts: ITNERACTIVE ‘Chess’ Learners taking their positions on the board The School with have its opening day on the 6 May
See more of Fiona Rowett’s work at : Kunst House, 62 Kloof Street, Gardens, T. 021 422 1255, www.kunsthouse.co.za
Niel Jonker celebrates the Baardskerersbos Art Route with good spirits
Dr Elfriede Dreyer, the artist Paul Boulitrean and Andre Naude at the new Naude Art Gallery
David Brown: Two men and their dog and other works João Ferreira Gallery. 6 - 29 May 2009 I made my first dog as a ‘dog of war’ in 1979 it was carved in wood and parts, like muzzles and collars, were clad in steel. Subsequently I had my second exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg in 1980. The theme of the dog had then evolved into a series called One man and his dog. These were monumental two-piece sculptures showing maimed figures on wheeled structures drawn by dogs. My first studio was situated on the edge of District 6 in a derelict building in Canterbury Street. Life in this area was raw and hard. District Six was crumbling and meths drinking street people lived outside my studio window. The stories they told were of desperate lives, but with fondly conjured memories of homes that once existed and the pleasure of family once experienced. The sculptures I made at that time reflected this a microcosm of bizarre paradoxes made more stark by the ruthless oppression of the apartheid state. Humour, too, however dark, has always been part of my iconography. After that time I never made another dog until a collector asked me in 2004 to make a large sculpture for him with two men and a dog. The 6 small dogs were maquettes for him to choose from. Enjoying revisiting an old theme I made a few more resulting in this small exhibition. Dogs are our closest companion species, but they can also go feral and become dangerous in ways not unlike their human masters.- David Brown. www.joaoferreiragallery.com Gallery Hours: Tues - Fri: 10am - 5pm Sat: 10am - 2pm. 70 Loop Street Cape Town 8001 South Africa
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BUSINESS ART | MAY 09
ART AND INVESTMENT
But is it an investment? By Michael Thorne, Alfred Bester and Andrew Bradley This article was first published in Personal Finance magazine, 2nd Quarter 2008. Investing in art is – or should be – like investing in the stock market. If your time and willingness to learn are limited, you should find an expert to buy on your behalf. If you want to do it yourself, you’ll have to build up your knowledge about artists and the art market in order to separate the hype from the truly talented. We provide these pointers. Once upon a time, as a pacing bachelor, I bought an erotic painting. It was well executed by an accomplished artist, an excellent investment in my fantasy world and it led to a life-changing meeting in a crowded gallery. Financially, however, it was a damp squib. The paint peeled off and the artist hung up his brushes. Needless to say, there are a number of points that can be teased from my experience. The blue lady (for want of a better title) was retail therapy and sexual fantasy, but definitely not part of a broader financial plan or an investment strategy. I wanted to hang it on my wall, not put it away in a safe. I paid no thought to selling it on – although I could have made a quick buck when it turned out someone else at the exhibition desperately wanted it! I knew a bit about the artist but didn’t know how many exhibitions he had had and where, nor how serious and/or prolific he was. And the peeling paint? Well, that is akin to buying a flat and having the walls cave in. No doubt there are far better ways of making money than investing in fine art, but they might not be nearly as interesting. Antoinette du Plessis, of 34 Long Fine Art, a gallery in Cape Town, puts it well: “The committed collector is rewarded with a lifetime of wonder, of living with loved objects and, sometimes, with a handsome financial return.” Just how much time do you have and how interested are you in investing in art? Your answer to these questions will dictate your investment strategy. One way of doing things is to hand over your cash and decision-making to a gallerist or an art dealer, or to invest offshore in a hedge fund that includes fine art. If, however, you want to get your hands dirty, you will have to put in the time, because, as in all investing – as opposed to gambling – knowledge and research are fundamental. Assuming you would like to be a hands-on investor, the first thing would be to decide how much you are prepared to invest and over what term. Du Plessis says: “Like all investing, [investing in art] has an edge of unpredictability and always some risk ... outcome is determined by information, risk-taking, patience and passion. Timing can be crucial.” But everyone knows how difficult it is to time the market, be it the
stock market or the art market. Sometimes you will get it right but more often than not, you will lose money on costs and be out of the market at the wrong time. If you have to put some time frame to an art investment, it seems like three to five years is a good horizon with which to work. What is of more importance, however, is to ascertain whether the particular work or works in which you are interested are overpriced and, more specifically, whether there is a bubble in the market ... too much cash pushing up the prices and then FFZZZZst as major collectors offload their work and the bubble deflates. Alfred Bester, of international professional services firm Maitland, in Cape Town, advises clients on the benefits of fine art investment where appropriate in estate planning. He points to the slump in the art market between the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Japanese, cash in hand, climbed into the art market, and when their equity and property markets retracted, they were net art sellers. Prices slumped internationally, and it is only in the past two to three years that art values globally have recovered to the levels they were at 10 years ago. Bester observes: “There is not a direct correlation but a similarity in movement between the art and the share markets, with ups and downs you need a crystal ball to predict, but obviously driven by sentiment.”
their horse gets in on the deal. This is not as technical as when you analyse a company in which you want to invest. Basically, you are trying to anticipate what the future sentiment around an artist and a piece of work will be. Andries Loots, of Vgallery (a South African online gallery), suggests that a would-be investor does some cross-checking and consults at least three different galleries. Some galleries might well punt “their” own artists and it is vital to get a broad view of the market. Loots also suggests going to exhibitions and auctions, reading and doing online research. This is a period of building “visual literacy”, which continues until the day you die. Separating substance from spin There was a fairly unanimous agreement among the experts to whom I spoke about what you should look for in a potential winner. Estelle Jacobs, a former director of the Association for Visual Arts, one of Cape Town’s oldest non-profit art galleries, notes the following important traits you should look for: commitment, professionalism (artists who deliver when they say they will), ambition (whether it is for fame and/or fortune), the energy to create and have exhibitions every couple of years, and a solid track record of past exhibitions. Loots suggests that a fine art degree is viewed as a sign of serious intention and commitment, certainly in some circles.
Having said this, Bester believes that the quality of good South African art is now starting to compare favourably with top international art, and he does not think there is a bubble in the local market, although recent international sales would indicate that the bull run in art prices may be coming to an end.
However, what might overshadow all of the above and what can never be underestimated is the power of spin – which artists are getting airtime and who is being punted by the galleries? None of us wants to be the next naked emperor, so it is vital to ascertain what and how much substance is behind the spin or if it is, in fact, just hot air.
Until about 10 years ago, the South African art market, like the financial markets, was pretty much off the map. By the mid-1990s, it seems no South African artist had ever achieved more than R1 million on auction, whereas now some good work is fetching prices closer to R5 million. This increase in value has been driven by two factors. First, and most dramatic, has been the extended bull run in our share market, and additional markets have been created as people turn to find other stores of value. Second, South African art has also become inter-nationally recognised, especially many of the dead artists: Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, Gregoire Boonzaier, Maggie Laubser, and other “big hitters” such as Gerard Sekoto, Gladys Mgudlandlu, Francois Krige and George Pemba.
As far as the building of an artist’s reputation goes, Loots refers to the importance of the secondary and tertiary markets for art – in other words, an artwork coming back onto the market for a second or third time. Loots always knows when a particular artist has sold well on auction: his telephone doesn’t stop ringing as buyers try to find the availability of other works by that artist.
The international recognition of South African artists is not without some dangers for art lovers. Bester feels strongly about the possible loss of good South African art to overseas investors. He feels it would be a sin for a beautiful painting to be secreted in some bank vault, lost to appreciative eyes and hearts. Positing the obvious, value for money is crucial, as is trying to spot a winner before everyone and
How to buy Once you have identified an artist, there are a number of ways that you can go about buying his or her work. Artists often have exhibitions or open days at their studios, are part of an “art route” – for example, the Midlands Meander or False Bay art route – or will set aside time to show you their work. Auctions are also exciting places to buy, but you need to know what you are after and to know your ceiling. There is often bidding up (people getting carried away in the moment) and the ensuing feeding frenzy is great for the auction house and seller, but after a few seconds of glory you will be left holding the baby. It is a sobering thought that, according to Loots, paintings go for more on auction than they do in galleries, and it is tempting for speculators to buy from galleries and put the work
straight on auction. If you buy from a gallery, about 30 percent to 40 percent of the cost of the artwork will go to the gallery as commission and on top of that you will pay value-added tax. Most serious buyers build up a relationship with a gallery owner or two. There are definite benefits in going this route. With a bit of prodding, the gallery ought to reduce its commission on sales. The gallerist will recommend up-and-coming artists and, when it comes to resale, the gallery will offer advice and/or wall space. Galleries are obviously very keen to build up a long-term relationship and will not be too impressed by a hit-and-run speculator. Many people also buy artwork online. However, this can be very difficult because art is so tactile, and textures and to a lesser extent colours can never be captured properly at the low resolution demanded by the internet.
as an investment and as a store of wealth, there is no CGT because art is a movable asset. Although your collection needs to be included as an asset in your estate that is calculable for estate duty in the event of your death, your estate would not need to pay CGT on the profit of a sale of the art.
One of the big pros of selling artwork through a gallery is that the gallery will have a buyer list and if the artist is well known it should be a fairly straightforward process, although you stand to lose a chunk in commission. On the auction front, the South African public seem to be laggards but this appears to be changing. Auctions are attractive to buyers and sellers alike because of the likelihood of getting a better price and the reduced commission payable. A note of caution, however: costs need to be checked out pretty carefully. For example, in the event that your work is not sold, you need to determine whether you, as the would-be seller, will be saddled with “hidden” costs.
According to Jacobs, opportunities do arise when the work of a wellknown South African artist is sold online in the United States, for one reason or another, cheaper than it can be acquired here. The work is “repatriated”, held for a couple of years and then sold at a handsome profit. Well, that’s the idea anyway.
Bester has the final say on auctions: “There are a lot of artists out there who are overvalued, based on the marketing practices of certain galleries. They create the hype, but if you analyse it and compare the price at the gallery against what you might realistically get on auction, it’s like being the manager of a boxer: you talk up your guy until he gets into the ring and gets smacked. The litmus test for most of our artists is how well they do on public auction, where you haven’t got the intervention of galleries. There are a range of individuals and dealers, and that is where you will find the true value.”
It is worth noting that the offshore art market is highly sophisticated and there are a range of indices that you can follow. Two websites that track fine art as an investment are www.artasanasset.com and www.artprice.com. Big auction houses also track individual artists just as you might track a share. When it comes to buying work by one of the “big hitters”, the authenticity of the piece must be validated and the physical condition of the work determined. If you buy a stolen painting, the original owner is entitled to reclaim it and you will be left with empty pockets, so the provenance of a piece, its unique history (where it was exhibited and who has owned it) will settle the authenticity of ownership. There are experts who can assist with this, as well as with the valuing of a painting. Taxes and commissions Owning art is one thing, but how do you look after it once you have it? Will you put it into a trust vehicle or keep it in your own name? Do you want to ring-fence your collection to protect it from business risk or from unappreciative family members?
It might seem odd that deceased estate practitioners seldom encounter art collections or objects of art in deceased estates in South Africa. This might lead to the conclusion that these collections are disposed of prior to death, but often they are simply not declared to executors. The fact that there is no centralised record of art in South Africa has led in many cases to art collections becoming a “secret store of wealth” that passes silently from one generation to the next without being disclosed. This could be an oversight but it could equally be to escape estate duty and donations tax. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is becoming more sophisticated, and at some stage it is likely that a centralised record of art sales will be established. With the introduction of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, any suspicious transaction must be reported by any suspecting party to the Financial Intelligence Centre. This could have a direct effect on the auction industry, which could be compelled to declare details of buyers and sellers of art through auction houses. This “big brother” concept already directly affects the banking, financial, fiduciary and property sectors. It would not be unreasonable to expect tighter controls in other sectors of the economy, forcing the ultimate disclosure on death of art, art objects, book collections and the like for the purposes of estate duty and donations tax. Art acquired by way of purchase, inheritance or donation must be disclosed on your income tax return, even if you regard the items merely as personal-use items and part of your household furniture and effects. In terms of current legislation, art or art objects are not subject to capital gains tax (CGT) on disposal unless you are an art dealer, because they are regarded as personal-use assets. (Interestingly, neither the Income Tax Act nor the Estate Duty Act actually defines an art object.)
Michael Thorne is a dabbler in the arts and the managing director of Sparx Media Illustration Agency.
Should you leave your art assets to your spouse, they will be exempt from estate duty in terms of section 4(q) of the Estate Duty Act. However, on the death of the lastdying of you and your spouse and assuming you have left the assets to your children or their offspring, the market value of the assets will contribute to the dutiable value of your estate. Estate duty is charged at a flat rate of 20 percent on the net dutiable estate. The net dutiable estate is determined after deducting the primary rebate of R3.5 million, administration expenses and creditors’ claims, as well as any further deductions in terms of section four of the Estate Duty Act.
Art is usually acquired out of a love for art rather than as an investment. However, the market value of art assets may well contribute substantially to the dutiable value of your estate when you die. Should there be insufficient liquidity in your estate, the executors may be compelled to realise the art assets to pay administration expenses, creditors’ claims and estate duty. The collection might be divided among a multitude of beneficiaries. Worse yet is the case where none of the beneficiaries has
Another important point raised by Bester is that if you are a dealer buying and selling art, you will be subject to income tax, but if you are a collector and doing it
It is important to appoint an executor who understands art, its value and the ultimate benefit it could serve, not only to the family but also to the public.
Fine art investments must surely fall under the banner of ethical investments. Dividends are paid in every glance and in the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a creative person, challenging you to look at the world in new ways. Shares you can feel excited about, but a painting you can fall in love with. No doubt, had I invested that money I spent on The blue lady in a good share, I would surely have made some decent money, but then ... I might not have met my wife!
The art of reducing estate duty Alfred Bester discusses how art owners can organise their affairs to minimise estate duty and donations tax.
Bester says: “If, in your will, you leave your art collection to a family trust and during your lifetime you enter into a lease agreement with, for example, the National Gallery, the gallery will have the right to exhibit it publicly (rather than the collection being hidden away in your home), and after 30 years it reverts to the family trust without incurring either estate duty or capital gains tax (CGT).”
any interest in the collection and may simply dispose of it.
There are perfectly legal ways of minimising estate duty, notably through the opportunity afforded by art assets. The Estate Duty Act creates the mechanism by which you can create a structure
to minimise the impact your art collection will have on your estate for estate duty purposes. This can be achieved by subjecting the collection to a notarial lease (a lease drawn up and executed by a notary) for a period of not less than 30 years, during which period the owner’s death occurs (meaning the owner has to die during the period of the lease). The lease could, for example, be in favour of Iziko South African National Gallery or an association, such as The Friends of the South African National Gallery, as long as the lessee retains the status of a public benefit organisation (PBO) in terms of the Income Tax Act and related legislation. The total value of the collection would therefore not only escape CGT, but would also be exempt from estate duty. At the end of the notarial lease period, the collection would merely pass to the lessor’s beneficiaries, which could be a suitable family trust. Should Iziko South African National Gallery elect not to take control and possession of an art collection after the death of the lessor, another recognised state institution or PBO, such as The Friends of the South African National Gallery, as a quasi “art ombudsman”, could be appointed to have effective control, while the benefactor’s estate would still be able to enjoy estate duty relief. Other opportunities exist where the collection could flow through to a specialist trust, which looks after the collection in perpetuity. The founder of the trust could appoint family members and the nominees of, say, The Friends of the South African National Gallery or a similar institution as trustees under conditions stipulated by the trust deed. The founder of the trust may also be a trustee of the trust. Alfred Bester is the head of trust and corporate services of Maitland, in Cape Town. This article was originally printed in InTouch, Maitland’s quarterly newsletter. Art and collectibles in your portfolio Andrew Bradley Over the past few years there has been a great deal of publicity about the phenomenal returns achieved by art and other collectibles. These reports are a reflection of reality. However, it is inappropriate to extrapolate these cases as a general rule, because it is impossible to determine how far down the value chain these remarkable returns have permeated. As human beings, we have a nasty habit of over-simplifying matters and creating rules of thumb. We also have a selective short-term memory when we do not properly understand what it is we are dealing with. To avoid being caught up in hysteria, it is important to create a proper framework for making any investment decisions. Firstly, you need to understand the different kinds of assets you may own. There can be business assets, lifestyle assets, investment assets and philanthropic or speculative assets.
as an investment asset because they do not generate any investment returns. Property and shares, for example, do meet the criteria in that they generate rental income or dividends. Based on these they could also generate capital growth. Art is therefore not in the arena of an investment. So, where does that leave it? Well, if you are a dealer who buys and sells art, taking a commission from these activities could make it a business. If this is the case, there are significant other implications that do not apply to most art lovers. Art can be a lifestyle asset you enjoy and from which you gain fulfilment, just like a motor car or boat. The fact that you may ultimately make some money from these assets is purely incidental to the lifestyle and aesthetic benefits you derive from them. Art can also be a speculative or philanthropic asset. If you are buying art to support a budding artist, your art purchases could have a very strong philanthropic slant to them. You expect nothing in return except the emotional fulfilment from the gesture you are making. If you are buying because you believe the artist or the piece will in time receive greater recognition than is currently the case, you are speculating – not investing. Your gamble may well pay off, or it might not. The artist may not fulfil his or her potential, or the piece may not receive any interest from anyone other than you. In these instances, the odds on the gamble will be too high. It is therefore crucial that you understand where any purchase fits into your overall portfolio. If it is art, make sure that, from the start, you derive full enjoyment from it. It is therefore a lifestyle asset, which may have some speculative benefits. It is at no time an investment. As you accumulate lifestyle assets and speculative assets, remember that your financial future will be secured only by investments, with help from business assets. Until you have secured your financial future through investment assets, you should keep your speculation and lifestyle assets to a minimum, otherwise you are gambling with your future well-being.
As a sobriety-check, also ask yourself where the money comes from to bid up the prices of art and collectibles. The only conclusion can be from business and investment assets. So when these two areas of the economy are buoyant, you will find that they fuel the prices of lifestyle and speculative assets. Even then you should have your money tied up in the engine room of economic growth and prosperity. Only surplus assets should be allocated to art and collectibles that can give you a speculative gain.
Andrew Bradley is the chief executive of acsis, a financial planning company.
Art and collectibles do not meet any of the criteria to be classified
South African Art Information Directory
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Promotional special R 169,- including postage and packaging Now in its 6th edition The SAAID 09 provides the user with a wealth of art information - both in terms of size and access into the South African arts community- and is South Africa’s white and yellow pages of the South African art world.
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Contents include 152 pages of: SA Art Infrastructure : Corporate Collections, Art Museums, Art Galleries, Art agents, Art Auctioneers, Art Material Shops, Media, Schools etc. Art Opportunities : South African Art Competitions, Events, Grants, Funders
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ARTIST PROFILES & SOUTH AFRICAN ART AUCTIONS
MAY 09 | BUSINESS ART
Terence McCaw Kalk Bay, Cape Town
Profile: Terence McCaw Founder member of the New Group and created appeal for Cape Impressionism
Profile: Dumile Feni: 1968 Drawings Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery ‘I am amazed by one thing that I’m glad never left me - that is the beauty of the lines, the fine lines’ (Feni, 1987). In an interview with Eva Cockcroft for Art and Artists in 1983, titled I Come From a Long Tradition, Dumile claimed that the most important influence in his artistic development was his childhood visits to the Bushman caves with his mother, where he saw the paintings of his ancestors. The statement by Dumile quoted above comes from an article in SA New Writing, Photographs & Art (1987), in which he confirmed this early influence, adding that the cave paintings still inspired the style and sensibility of his work. Dumile had started exploring the Rotring™ fine pen medium shortly before his departure from South Africa in 1968. This was a significant departure from his large scale charcoal drawings exhibited at Gallery 101 and the Durban Art Gallery in 1966 and 1967. Fine lines were employed in part, in most of Dumile’s drawings to achieve various pictorial effects. The works he completed on his arrival in London are particularly significant as they are characterised by the consistent use of fine lines throughout the drawings. Four figures and the series of 5 drawings shown on this exhibition were among the first Rotring™ pen drawings Dumile produced in London. Four figures was shown at his first London exhibition, Dumile Feni 37 drawings, at the Grosvenor Gallery from July 29 to September 1 1969. The 5 drawing series was acquired by Eric Estorick, the director of the Grosvenor Gallery. Dumile also contributed to the landmark show; the Contemporary African Arts exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre, which took place within weeks of the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery exhibition. He received favourable reviews for his work at both these shows. When researching the history of these works and the circumstances under which they were produced, it becomes apparent how important they are with respect to the personal upheaval he endured at the time. Apart from being uprooted from the land of his birth, he also had to leave behind his partner, Florence Dyali, who was seven months pregnant with their child. In South Africa, because of Apartheid regulations, Dumile had been unable to secure authorisation to live and work in Johannesburg despite having a supply-contract with Gallery 101. Authorities threatened to move him to a tribal homeland, which would effectively have ended his artistic career. This created a moral dilemma for Dumile; if he stayed until his child was born, he risked being arrested. Lionel Ngakane notes: … Dumile failed to convince the authorities that being an artist was a profession and he was eventually expelled from Johannesburg and sent back to Cape Town. In Cape Town he was given fourteen days to leave and was endorsed to his town of birth, Worcester. Worcester also refused him a resident’s permit and in turn gave him fourteen days to leave, or be arrested and sent
to a tribal reservation. Dumile in desperation returned to Johannesburg and applied for a passport to leave the country. He had to wait for a year before he was granted the passport (Ngakane, Lionel. Dumile: A Profile. African Arts/Arts de Afrique 1970 volumeIII). As a result of Bill Ainslie’s intervention Dumile received an invitation to exhibit at the Grosvenor Gallery and eventually acquired a South African passport. The emotional turmoil he experienced in the first months after his arrival in England, heightened by the birth of his child in South Africa, is evident in the dramatic power of the work he produced during this period. An inscription on one of the drawings in the series of 5 starts with the question, “What shall we name the child: …”. His daughter, Marriam, was born on 28 September 1968. When Dumile arrived in London he stayed with the exiled writer, William “Bloke” Modisane, who provided him with studio space. He dedicated one of these early drawings, Theme for Bloke, later shown at the Grosvenor Gallery, to him. This collection of drawings consists mainly of figurative studies, predominantly of women in postures of anguish, ranging from a single female figure who appears to be running out of the picture frame, to a more complex composition of nine figures. The scale and positioning of the figures fully utilize the large paper format, where open space is used for dramatic effect, emphasizing the isolation of the figure or figures in the composition. The empty spaces are devoid of references to landscape or any other pictorial devices that define space, much like the Bushman paintings in the caves that his mother showed him as a child. These drawings are minimalist in composition, but not in execution, and some figures are more detailed than others. The contrast between the intensely detailed figures, and the open spaces, heightens the tension in these unusual compositions. Some figures are static, while others are set in motion by the use of fine lines ghosted onto the paper, which suggest various stages of sequential movement. By 1969 Dumile’s approach to figurative subjects had changed, and his figures did not have the same mass as in his earlier drawings. He did, however, retain the use of fine lines to outline his subject matter and convey movement. Thereafter, his drawings became progressively stylized, although he never relinquished his use of the fine lines. This stylistic development included a solidification of the outlines of many of his figures. In the context of Dumile’s oeuvre, the dramatic emotional events of 1968 - his displacement to London and his absence from the birth of his child - influenced his stylistic development during this transitional period. This resulted in a body of work which is unique, not only in terms of the stylistic approach to volume and mass, but also because of its specific emotional content. (BCS).
Terence McCaw (1913 – 1978) was awarded a scholarship to study at the Witwatersrand Technical Art School, where he was enrolled from 1930 to 1933 and studied under Sydney Carter and Emily Fern – the influence of Carter on his work endured throughout his artistic career. McCaw and Walter Battiss met and became close friends while studying together; with Battiss declaring him “without doubt the best painter at the school.” They maintained a life-long friendship and went on several painting trips together. Determined to earn his living as a professional artist he worked in Cape Town for a year after his studies before returning to Johannesburg to work as a commercial artist. One can only guess that this was a compromise brought on by the harsh reality of trying to earn a living from his art while he was yet to establish a reputation. In 1935 his extremely skilled draftsmanship saw him taking first prize in a South African Railways poster competition. Thereafter he was awarded with a travel bursary to study art abroad. He furthered his training in London at Heatherleys and the Central School of Art. While in London he exhibited with the London Group and Royal Watercolour society. His talent and skill was such that while still a student he had paintings hung in the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Royal British Association, the Royal Portrait Society and at Agnews of Bond Street. He then spent six months traveling and painting in Spain and Morocco before returning to South Africa in 1937, where after he returned once again to Cape Town. McCaw then became a founder member and active protagonist of the New Group, established in 1938 with Battiss and Gregoire Boonzaier. While working in close association with Boonzaier, McCaw would have been exposed to the work of first generation Cape Impressionist - Pieter Wenning, who had been a close friend of the Boonzaier family. Wenning’s influence is discernible in Boonzaier’s work but is much more strongly present in McCaw, even though McCaw states Cezanne as influence; this is more visible in Boonzaier’s work. Therefore these two young artists seem to share much cross-pollination of inspiration, intent and influence. Similarly both artists were caught up in the same position. Starting off as highly talented, skilled and ambitious; that which would have first been ‘new’ work, though hardly avante garde especially as second generation Cape Impressionists, as the public received their styles favorably they were then forced into a position of maintaining a course, lest they lose their buying public. In contrast, Battiss did not depend on his art sales for his income, for this he relied on teaching art. He was therefore free to keep pushing the boundaries of his artwork and experiment freely – leaving the other two behind in terms of stylistic trends and thereby remaining at the forefront of South African art developments throughout his life. “Terence told me how doing Commercial Art for a living in Johannesburg had injured his creative vision. Actually that’s what later undid him… I think with all his easy talent of elegant style Terence finally signed his artistic death warrant painting for a commercial gallery and getting tied up, with no escape.”
some respite from the ideals of the New Group in order to capture the landscape of warfare in a fairly realistic manner. The spontaneity, directness and strong visual appeal of Cape Impressionism was well-suited to this purpose as “his pictorial account of people, places and events along the battlefront won him further acclaim.” After the War he returned to South Africa and settled in Hout Bay. In 1948 four works were included in the Overseas Exhibition of South African Art. In 1950 he joined a scientific expedition to Mozambique and Zimbabwe as official artist to record newly discovered paintings of the ‘Bushmen’. This trip resulted in a show in Harare and included landscapes of the Zambezi area. Following this he spent a year painting in Zanzibar, the artworks from this time he then exhibited in Nairobi. In 1952 he returned to visit Italy and lived on the island of Ischia for a year. While he returned to live in Hout Bay he was to make many return visits to paint in Italy. The ‘50’s were not a particularly productive time artistically for McCaw. He fell ill and seemed to struggle to regain his health. One may conjecture that he was perhaps floundering to find his way artistically, having for so long painted to fulfill public demand and expectation of his work. Consequently he painted only sporadically which resulted in works of varying degrees of quality during the 1950’s. The 1960’s saw McCaw concentrating his creative energy into his property at Hout Bay and his reportedly magnificent garden. This nurturing of his surrounds bore artistic fruit and a second wave of renewed energy as McCaw went on the have two highly successful one-man exhibitions in 1972 and 1975. He died at the age of 64 in February 1978. “He had painted for over 40 years, exhibited throughout the world, and won the acclamation and respect of critics and public alike both here and overseas.”
He was appointed in November 1943 as one of the Official War Artists for the South African Defence Force to record the events of WWII, where he was mainly stationed in Italy. This allowed
See Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s, upcoming Art Auction at www.swelco.co.za
Eds. Harmsen, F. & Cook, D. (1979) De Arte 23 April 1979, Unisa Journal of the Department of Art History and Fine Arts, Pretoria: Unisa, p. 48 quotation from a letter by Walter Battiss. Eds. Huntingford, N.P.C & Hardy, R.E. (1982) The WWII Works of Terence MacCaw S.A. National Gallery Catalogue 1983 Johannesburg: S.A. National Museum of Military History. Eds. Harmsen, F. & Cook, D. (1979) De Arte 23 April 1979, Unisa Journal of the Department of Art History and Fine Arts, Pretoria: Unisa, p. 48 quotation from a letter by Walter Battiss – italics his emphasis Eds. Huntingford, N.P.C & Hardy, R.E. (1982) The WWII Works of Terence MacCaw S.A. National Gallery Catalogue 1983 Johannesburg: S.A. National Museum of Military History Ibid. Ibid. Werth, A.J. Bulletin, Pretoria Art Museum, Volume 12 No. 3 July 1978. Quoted from the 1974 exhibition catalogue. Eds. Huntingford, N.P.C & Hardy, R.E. (1982) The WWII Works of Terence MacCaw S.A. National Gallery Catalogue 1983 Johannesburg: S.A. National Museum of Military History
See more McCaws at the following Galleries Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery
Cape Town www.johansborman.co.za
Philip Harper Galleries Hermanus
Stellenbosch Art Gallery
Garden, Hout Bay (Estimate R120 000 – R150 000) one of six works by the artist on the Cape Town Swelco auction 26 May 2009
South African Art Auction May update Michael Coulson The two most recent auctions involving SA art confirm two trends: firstly, that the market for SA art is in SA; and secondly, that, no doubt in part as a result of tough economic conditions, buyers are shying away from some artists that have been commanding the highest prices. Bonham’s sale of African Contemporary Art in London on April 8 was nothing short of a disaster. Overall, 50 of the 95 lots sold, or 53%, but as the highest estimate works failed to sell, the gross of GBP352 000 (as always, including buyer’s premium and Vat, where applicable) fell under half the low estimate of GBP731 000. In terms of numbers, works by SA artists matched the overall figure, 19 of 35 selling. But because the two highest estimates were in this category, and neither sold, the gross was a dismal 27% of the low estimate: GBP105 000 of GBP391 500. The two casualties were lot 32, a Kentridge oil estimated at GBP100 000-GBP150 000, and lot 39, a Marlene Dumas watercolour and pencil nude (GBP80 000GBP120 000).
The only two lots to top GBP10 000 in this section were two Kentridge graphics, lots 33 and 42, at GBP15 600 (GBP8 000-GBP12 000) and GBP20 400 (GBP20 000GBP30 000) respectively.
gross of R5.36m was well short of the low estimate of R8.10m. However, the final result may beat this, as several lots on the auctioneer’s price list are marked TBA (to be advised), implying that the consignors may accept below-reserve bids after the event.
Given these failures, the surprising top price went to an acrylic and watercolour painting by Nigeria’s Benedict Enwonwu, estimated at just GBP20 000-GBP30 000, which was bid up to GBP66 000, followed by GBP30 000 for a sculpture by Ghana’s El Anatsui (GBP8 000-GBP12 000).
These included the top estimate work, the Irma Stern double portrait (R800 000-R1.2m) and a clutch of five Adriaan Boshoffs (ranging from a low of R150 000 to a high of R900 000).
Stephen Welz & Co in Association with Sotheby’s (Swelco)’s Johannesburg sale on April 20 went better, especially the first session, which as usual comprised minor works. Seventyone of the 90 works sold, or 79%, grossing R657 000, well above the low estimate of R455 000. Top prices were an extravagant R28 000 for a Christiaan Nice landscape (R5 000-R8 000), and R24 600 each for an Andre de Beer genre scene R6 000-R9 000) and a Battiss Nude litho (R5 000-R6 000). While the sales percentage was similar in the second session (101 of 126), here too some top-priced works fell short, so the reported
Others left on the shelf include two Pierneefs (R300 000-R500 000 and R200 000-R300 000), two Ngatanes (R250 000-R350 000 and R100 000-R150 000) and two Lucky Sibiya wood panels (R100 000-R150 000 and R80 000-R120 000. After the Bonham’s experience, there must have been smiles of relief all round when Kentridge’s cover lot drawing The Highveld Style Masked Ball reached R560 000 (R500 000-R700 000). Another Pierneef did sell, at R392 000, just under the estimate range (R400 000-R600 000), while a Pieter Wenning landscape fetched R560 000 (R500 000-R800 000). A Preller still life, est R40 000-R60
000, was bid up to R123 200. Swelco notes that artist records were set for landscapes by Cathcart Methven landscape, at R201 600 (R80 000-R120 000) and Gerhard Batha, at R67 200 (R20 000R30 0000), the latter reportedly greeted by “applause and amused reaction.” Battiss and Boonzaaier were also well supported. Next major event is Graham Britz’s auction of the Brett Kebble collection, about which I can say little as Britz declined the normal professional courtesy of providing the media with copies of the catalogue. But I note that earlier suggestions that the gross could reach R100m have been moderated to R50m-R70m, while my main impression of the preview was a wall full of overcleaned and glossily varnished Sterns that looked as if they had come off the easel that morning. Swelco’s next auction is in Cape Town on May 26 and 27. The house says highlights include a Stern portrait of Zoe Randall (R1.8m-R2.4m) and landscapes by Hugo Naude (R250 000-R350 000) and Terrence McCaw (R120 000-R160 000).
New blood at Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s, (left - right) Jennifer Schultz, Anton Welz, Karen Randle and Michael Chandler
Moving In and Up at Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s The start of 2009 saw a number of new faces crossing the threshold of Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s. The Silver Department gained the flair of Jennifer Schultz and Karen Randle, while the Furniture Department has been boosted two-fold with the passion of Michael Chandler and Anton Welz. Jennifer and Karen, with respective backgrounds in Jewellery and Fashion, have brought with them their keen sense of detail. Jennifer is also a winner of the Anglo Gold Riches of Africa design competition. In the auction business many lifelong key members start at the lowly level of intern and this is true for Karen and Michael. Michael worked as an intern in 2007 before leaving to complete his Honours in Art History and subsequently worked for both Deon Viljoen and the Everard Read Gallery before returning full time at the beginning of the year. Karen joined Stephan Welz and Co. as an intern mid-2008 and having proven her passion for the department was made full time at the end of 2008. Anton, sharing a department and a famous surname, returned to Stephan Welz and Co. at the same time as Michael. Anton gained his History of Art degree in Cape Town before heading up to Johannesburg for two years to be mentored by his uncle, Stephan Welz. He then entered the corporate world before re-joining the company, this time in Cape Town. With their combined efforts and enthusiasm these new members of staff are on hand, together with the rest of the team, to carry on the respected services of Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s.
Gallery Administrator The South African Print Gallery We are looking for an efficient, creative gallery administrator Quality preferable Knowledge of South African Art and Artists BA Fine Arts (Hons) Computer and Internet literate Good manner and writing style Ability to work with artists and good grasp of logistics Please e-mail your CV to: email@example.com Closing date for applications 31 May 09. SA Print Gallery 107 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Part of the new gallery strip.
South African Art Information Directory Now in its 6th edition The SAAID 09 provides the user with a wealth of art information - both in terms of size and access into the South African arts community- and is South Africa’s white and yellow pages of the South African art world. “ (The) South African Art Information Directory is packed with all sorts of useful information. In many ways, it really starts to taper the long-standing rifts in the South African arts communication network “. Suzie Copperthwaite, Artthrob
Contents include 152 pages of: SA Art Infrastructure : Corporate Collections, Art Museums, Art Galleries, Art agents, Art Auctioneers, Art Material Shops, Media, Schools etc. Art Opportunities : South African Art Competitions, Events, Grants, Funders
Promotional special R 169,- including postage and packaging See www.saaid.co.za for more details