BUSINESS ART MAY 2010 | E-mail: email@example.com | Member of the Global Art Information Group
Europe’s volcano flight chaos plays havoc with show shipments Paintings and people stranded short-term delays on artworks being returned was “considerable”, an Academy spokeswoman said that “the adaptation and flexibility of everyone has been extremely impressive”.
The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano has disrupted art shipments and travel (Photo EPA)
By Martin Bailey The Art Newspaper
Disruption to flights is likely to impact on art shipments up until late April and possibly into early May, affecting exhibitions and the trade. Flights in north-west Europe were banned from 15 April following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Although air traffic had partially resumed as we went to press, this could be interrupted by further volcanic ash clouds. Even after the airports fully reopen, logistical problems and shortage of seats will take some days to resolve. The Van Gogh exhibition at London’s Royal Academy was one of the first shows to be hit, in terms of returning pictures following its closure on 18 April. The blockbuster, which attracted just over 400,000 visitors, included works from 24 European lenders and 22 from North America. Although the impact in terms of
Other exhibitions have faced similar problems. The Frida Kahlo show at the Bozar centre in Brussels also finished on 18 April, and conservators from the main lender, the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico, had been due to come out for condition checking of their paintings. When they were unable to travel, they agreed that this could be done by Belgian conservators (observed by Mexican embassy officials), and the show was then sent by road to the next venue, Berlin’s MartinGropius-Bau, in time for its 30 April opening. Many commercial exhibitions have faced problems in transporting art. For instance, at the Sadie Coles gallery in London a show by Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, scheduled to open on 21 April, has been postponed. The Art Chicago fair is in a particularly difficult situation, because of the timing. It runs from 30 April-3 May (with the VIP preview on 29 April), and air shipments from European dealers would normally have arrived the previous week.
Anton Kannemeyer’s work “This is How It Works” from his show entitled: “A Dreadful Thing Is About to Occur” at The Michael Stevenson Gallery 22 April - 29 May 2010. Image courtesy: Michael Stevenson Gallery. See www.michaelstevenson.com for more of Anton’s work
April’s Swelco Johannesburg Sale: Preller the star Last Swelco sale in Jo’burg confirmed that while the art market – like others – may be over the worst, the recovery is not dramatic. By Michael Coulson In the main, evening, session, 97 of the 162 SA art lots sold, or about 59.5%. But those that did sell generally went for well above the low estimate, the gross for this session of just under R7.55m being 74.7% of the low estimate of R10.1m. On the other hand, nine of the 16 highest-estimate lots failed to sell, and the top price of R896 000 (including buyer’s premium) for a Preller still life (the cover lot) was well within the estimate range of R600 000-R900 000. No other lot reached R500 000, the closest being R470 000
With 150 dealers, 30 are from Europe, and of these 10 had already sent over their stock before the volcano disruption. However, as we went to press, it was uncertain whether the remaining 20 dealers would be able to participate. Art Chicago vice president Tony Karman remained optimistic, promising to “mobilise an army of helpers when they get here”, but he said “right now it is unclear whether or not they will make it.”
for a Preller study (est R400 000-R600 000) and R448 000 for a Skotnes painted wood panel (est R400 000-R600 000). Skotnes in fact was in demand: another of his panels was the only one of the top 16 to beat the high estimate, fetching R336 000 (est R200 000R300 000). Other noteworthy prices include R392 000 for an Irma Stern flower study (est R400 000-R600 000), R368 000 for yet another Skotnes panel (est R300 000-R500 000), R246 000 for Van Wouw’s Dagga Smoker (a fine SA casting) Continued on Page 11
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BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
On the Joburg Art Fair
National Arts Festival Announces new Festival Committee Chairman Supplied
Time and place. The retrospective of prints by Jonathan Comerford will include a selection of work executed prior to his departure to London and current work from the: Tin Boat, London Calling and On the Underground portfolio’s as well as figurative work. The artists trademark use of metaphorical imagery of `transport platforms` in surreal environments, such as, the tin and paper boat, paper plane, has expanded to incorporate images of the wooden pallet, skip and traffic cone, adopted since living in London. His interest in the notion of transference migration by people, whether forced or due to circumstance, continues as a visual thread through his work. For the artist it manifested from his own familial history, the immigration by boat of his British parents and attempt at assimilation into the insidious cultural and racial division of Apartheid, to his existential migration to his historical `cultural home land`. / of the `soutpiel`or `umlungu(?)`. His current work portrays this transference from Africa to Britain through the use of imagery harvested from the environment he currently inhabits. The use of the wooden pallet, traffic cone and skip, iconic objects of the urban London landscape, illustrates his continued socio political commentary on migration, consumerism, power, politics, war, discrimination and a multi cultural society born of colonisation and the effects. The artists current work was created by actively drawing to record and conceptualise the new environment while working in various jobs and travelling on the tube. The work from the `London Calling` and `On the Underground` portfolio’s are direct depictions of the environments the artist works in or commutes on whilst actively observing, drawing and photographing. Mapping the neighbourhood!
Opens Saturday 8 May 2010 at 10 am
South African Print Gallery Shop 107 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. (Part of the Gallery Strip)
See www.printgallery.co.za for more details
The National Arts Festival has announced that Sibongile Khumalo, the National Arts Festival Board Vice-Chairman and Festival Committee Chairman, will be stepping down following the 2010 Festival, ending her four year tenure which began in August 2006. Khumalo received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music in 1993 and was appointed onto the Festival Committee in 1996. She has served on various Festival bodies for 14 years and has been a significant influence at the Festival during this time. “I am privileged to have been a part of the National Arts Festival, an insightful mirror of our society as our young democracy was born and now continues to evolve,” Khumalo said. “It has been an empowering and affirming journey, but now it is time to step aside and hand over to others as the Festival continues being the barometer, the heart and the thought leader of our artistic world.” Khumalo’s successor to the Board, and as Chairman of the Festival Committee, will be Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town Drama Department and renowned South African choreographer, Jay Pather. “Jay joined the Committee in 2006 and has won the respect of both Committee members and the Board for his insightful views on the role of the arts in society,” Board Chairman Ayanda Mjekula said. “He is a thoughtful, bold and engaging administrator and practitioner. He is also a cultural activist with a vision, passion and determination that we hope he will bring to bear in his new role. We look forward to him playing a significant part in the process of defining the Festival in the South African context.” Thanking Khumalo for her work on the Committee, Mjekula noted her “firm but fair” approach to the Festival’s deliberations over the years. “Sibongile has always maintained her integrity as an artist and as an iconic representation of all that is excellent in South Africa’s arts world,” he said. “Through her leadership she has made an indelible impression on our work and, while we respect her decision to step down and are enthused about the possibility of working with Jay in the future, we know that we are losing a passionate and experienced member of our team.” Pather also paid tribute to Khumalo’s contribution to the Festival: “The National Arts Festival is an extraordinary barometer of what South Africans are thinking, feeling and saying,” he said. “To be asked to lead the artistic committee is an honour and I am particularly mindful of the stature and insight that Sibongile brought to the role. I look forward to working with the committee as we continue to ensure that the Festival holds the place it has in the South African dialogue.”
Mary Corrigall Art Fairs are to art critics what zoos are to animal-rights activists - an assault on their belief system. It all comes down to the setting and the politics of the display. You see, just as animal lovers do not relish viewing leopards through bars or watching these prized beasts circling cramped cages, art critics recoil from art hung randomly on makeshift walls on a trade floor. For, in such a context, the art critic’s nebulous set of skills, which allows them to retrieve the curious matrix of ideas that shape contemporary art, is really not required. Hence the relationship between art critics and art fairs has historically been a vexed one. “Art fairs reduce complexity and diversity to sameness. They encourage vacuous glancing,” observed Peter Suchin, the British critic. Jerry Stalz of New York’s Village Voice was equally disparaging. “Organisers claim art fairs are “important” and that they’re “forums”. In reality, they’re adrenaline-addled spectacles for a kind of buying and selling where intimacy, conviction, patience, and focused looking are essentially nonexistent. They are places where commerce has replaced epistemology.” Speaking at the Joburg Art Fair this year, Klaus Biesenbach, director of the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre at the MoMA gallery in New York, apparently also urged that fairs were nothing less than malls for art. In fact, so widespread has the dislike of art fairs among art critics and the art intelligentsia been, that the ICA (Institute for Contemporary Arts) in London held a talk in 2007 titled “Why we love to hate art fairs”. Certainly Ross Douglas, head of Art Logic, the company that stages the Joburg Art Fair, has some inkling about this actuality - hence this year he only extended invitations to members of the press or art critics who he felt certain would turn in flowery reports. Mostly, South African critics have been less disparaging of the phenomenon than their American or British counterparts. The advent of an art fair on this tip of the continent indicated that the local art world had come of age and was part of a global context in which fairs have become an ubiquitous part of the art circuit. Besides which, critics realise that art fairs are like death and taxes - they are a fact of life. And while the allure of art fairs might have been wearing thin in the past couple of years in the face of an economic recession, which has had many purists gleefully declaring that the over-commodification of art might have reached its nadir, these huge art spectacles remain attractive. This is partly due to the undeniable social cachet attached to them - the by-invitation-only opening night sees politicians, business honchos (the biggest consumers of art) and socialites rub shoulders with the black-clad art set. To read more visit: http://corrigall.blogspot.com
Kevin Brand wins Art Competition for Seapoint promenade Art Times News Writer In a City of Cape Town-funded initiative, a new public sculpture by Kevin Brand is set to be installed on the Sea Point promenade “in time for the World Cup”. The R 120 000 project, which was organised in collaboration with VANSA and the City of Cape Town’s art and culture department, features a series of five aluminium horses each 1.3m high, joined to one another and with pipes protruding from them encouraging the public to talk to each other through the pipes from each end. Brand claims the work references a shipwreck in 1977, in which a ship transporting White Horse Whiskey from Glasgow hit the rocks near the Sea Point lighthouse and “the small plastic white horses that were in the bottles were scattered all over the beachfront”. “People collected them,” Brand continues, “I remember grabbing a handful myself.”
“Born to be an Artist” Book Launch at Kelvin Grove, Cape Town The acclaimed art critic, Lloyd Pollack launched Frederike Stokhuyzen book “Born to be an Artist” book at Kelvin Grove at the end of April. The launch was well attended by many collectors, friends and admirers that have enjoyed her and her work. The book can be ordered through The Cape Gallery via www.capegallery.co.za , Stellenbosch, Walker Bay and Hout Street Galleries.
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Artist: Andre Clements : Malema as David’s The death of Marat
By Michael Coulson Are the functions and objectives of a public – in this case, a university – art gallery different from those of a commercial space? Annali Cabano-Dempsey, curator of the University of Johanesburg art gallery, has no doubt. “Firstly, the attachment to a university makes us an institution, with an educational purpose. We have to show people what’s at the forefront of SA art. Then, we can give artists an opportunity to experiment and do work they couldn’t do elsewhere – partly because of the size of our exhibition space.” She cites sculptor Angus Taylor. “His exhibition here in 2006 was really his first chance to work on a large scale.” In this way, she says, a “public” gallery can be instrumental in developing artistic careers – and it can be exciting to see how you’ve had a part in that, however small. While she believes the gallery should focus on contemporary SA art, that’s not the limit of its remit. It’s also necessary to examine the historic development of art as well as allied social issues – race, gender, Aids – not through formal education but by staging exhibitions that keep people informed. And not only exhibitions: lectures and walkabouts are also important. Cabano-Dempsey finds it inspiring to see how children who’re probably visiting a gallery for the first time react to art. Art galleries, she argues, are part of the democratic process and must be open to everyone, at all levels of understanding. Obviously, not a condition that can be imposed on an organisation whose main motivation is selling, though unlike some public spaces UJ has no restrictions on selling and, when it does, charges a commission of 25%, way below the 40%-50% now standard at commercial galleries. What is just as important as at a commercial gallery, though, is careful and timeous planning of the exhibition schedule. Cabano-Dempsey says a show is typically booked 18 months in advance, though this can vary by six months or so in either direction. While many artists approach her, she keeps a keen eye open on emerging artistic and social trends. Not necessarily by design, this has often led to several of a year’s shows having a common theme. She tries to steer away from general group shows, referring a thematic approach, like the current Rendezvous, which focuses on the development of lithography, with examples by international names such as Picasso, Man Ray and Kandinsky and locals like Kentridge, Diane Victor and Judith Mason – who, let it be said, are not outshone by the world luminaries. Having said that, only three of this year’s eight exhibitions are solo efforts: Samson Mnisi opened the season in March, Pretoria’s Helena Hugo comes up in June, and Avishone Mainganye will end the year, from November running into next January. Asked which shows have made the biggest impressions on her personally, she goes all the way back to Breyten Breytenbach and his wall hanging paintings in 1999, adding such highlights as Edoardo Villa (in his garden – the works were too bulky to bring to the gallery) in 2000, land artist Strydom van der Merwe, whose work still adorns the grassy bank above the gallery (2005), the Beeldspraak project, in which Beeld newspaper reproduced a work each week and at year-end the originals were sold for charity (2006) and last year’s Braam Kruger retrospective and the first use of the rooftop (designed for this very purpose) for a sculpture show, which will be repeated this August. It’s common cause that corporate sponsorship of the visual arts has been squeezed by both the global financial crisis and, in SA, the diversion of funds to the Soccer World Cup. Is attachment to a university a shield against that? “UJ has always been very supportive of the arts in general and gallery activities in particular. After all, they built us this beautiful new building! But we have to stick within our budget, and try to do more with what we have. I think we make the most of our limited resources.” Few people set out to become gallery directors, and Cabano-Dempsey is no exception. Born and brought up in Germiston, she went on to study at the then Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now the University of the Northwest), where an initial BA in communications has since been upgraded first to honours, then an MA, and she is now working on a doctorate. She’d always wanted to be an artist, bur her father insisted she study something more economically viable. While we agree that it’s debatable whether journalism meets this criterion, she says she thoroughly enjoyed the decade she spent with Nasionale Pers after graduating. At that time, she produced art part-time. In 1987, she took the plunge and became a full-time artist, turning journalism into the freelance pastime. Then, in 1998, a friend saw the advertisement for the UJ position, and suggested she should apply. She did, and what was originally a half-day post has become, in her words, a one-and-a-half day job. But she doesn’t regret it. “I have unlimited passion for what I am doing and gratitude for the privilege to be surrounded by the most interesting people and the materialisations of their imagination.” If only every holder of a similar position felt the same way.
Never a dull read
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FREE STATE, GAUTENG AND MPUMALANGA GALLERY LISTINGS
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Free State Bloemfontein Oliewenhuis Art Museum 22 April–30 May, “Retrospective” Melted plastic, wall-hung works by Mbongeni Buthelezi. Until 30 May, “Terra: Above and Below” by Jeanette Unite. (Main building) 16 Harry Smith Str., Bloemfontein T.051 447 9609
Clarens Johan Smith Art Gallery A fine selection of paintings, ceramics, glass, bronze and other works of art. 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
Gauteng Johannesburg Artspace –Jhb Until 19 May, “New York” by Richard Smith, a solo exhibition of drawings and paintings. 22 May-19 June, “Foul!” a group exhibition of cartoon and comic art. Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 880 8802 email@example.com www.artspace-jhb.co.za The Bag Factory Until 05 May, “Border farm” featuring Thenjiwe Nkosi, Raymond Marlowe and the Maroi farm art and drama group. 10 Mahlatini Street, Fordsburg. T. 011 834 9181 firstname.lastname@example.org Brodie/Stevenson 06 May-04 June, An exhibition of works by Nicholas Hlobo. 373 Jan Smuts Ave., Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034 www.artextra.co.za, www.brodiestevenson.com
And all the books she had planned to read (Charcoal on paper) 2010 from Diane Victor’s show entitled: Transcend at The Goodman Gallery 15 April - 22 May 2010 See www.goodman-gallery.com for more details
Gallery MOMO Until 10 May, “Art on Paper” featuring 12 artists. Until 10 May, Works by Shepherd Ndudzo Until 10 May, “Communists and hot chicken wings.” (Projects Space) 13 May-17 June, Group Exhibition curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe. 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg T. 011 327 3247 www.gallerymomo.com Gertrude Posel Gallery This gallery has a permanent exhibition of traditional southern, central and West African art. University of the Witwatersrand, Senate House, Jorissen Street, Braamfontein Tel: 011 717 1365 email@example.com Goodman Gallery Until 10 May, Kudzanai Chiurai. (Project Space at Arts on Main.) Until 23 May, “Transcend” by Diane Victor. 163 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 788 1113 www.goodman-gallery.com
CIRCA on Jellicoe 06-29 May, “Re-tracing the Cradle” a photographic exhibition by Franki Burger. 2 Jellicoe Ave. T. 011 788 4805 firstname.lastname@example.org
Johannesburg Art Gallery Until 02 May, “Gae Lebowa” an exhibition by George Mahashe. Until 02 May, “Uitpak”, “Estrella de Mar” and “America Made In China”. King George Str., Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3130 email@example.com, www.joburg.org.za
CO-OP Until 01 May, “Die Laaste Braai” functional braai sculpture piece, designed by Adriaan Isak Hugo and Zander Le Roux Blom. This monumental object is built from black granite and steel and is available in an edition of five. It will be on show at CO-OP along with a selection of editioned prints. 06-29 May, “Intro” Furniture show featuring pieces by Adriaan Hugo and Dokter and Misses. 68 Juta Str., Braamfontein T. 011 023 0336 firstname.lastname@example.org www.co-opjoburg.com
Market Photo Workshop Until 21 May, “Considering documentary” is the third in a series of exhibitions commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Market Photo workshop. (Market Photo Workshop Gallery) Market Photo Workshop 2 President Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. T. 011 834 1444 email@example.com www.marketphotoworkshop.co.za
David Brown Fine Art May-June, Woodcuts and Prints by Isaac Sithole. 11 June- 11 July, Mixed South African Artist exhibit at the International Football Village, hosted at Birchwood, Jhb. 36 Keyes Avenue, off Jellicoe, Rosebank. T.011 788 4435 firstname.lastname@example.org www.davidbrownfineart.co.za David Krut Projects Until 31 May, William Kentridge, The “Nose” Series, 2007—2010. New Etchings by William Kentridge. The prints will be launched, along with the book Nose: Thirty Etchings. 140 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627 www.davidkrutpublishing.com Everard Read Gallery Jhb Until 23 May, “Trees” by Leigh Voight. 6 Jellicoe Ave., Rosebank, Johannesburg T. 011 788 4805 www.everard-read.co.za Gallery 2 08 May-15 June, “Transition” Artists participating will include: Paul Blomkamp, Hannelie Coetzee, Wilma Cruise, Karin Daymond, Bronwen Findlay, Phillemon Hlungwani, Grace Kotze, John Kramer, Colbert Mashile, Joshua Miles, Hermann Niebuhr, Carl Roberts, Jenny Stadler, and Réney Warrington. 140 Jan Smuts Ave,Parkwood. T. 011 447 0155/98 email@example.com www.gallery2.co.za Gallery Le Rouge Until 13 May, “African to Antarctic Skys” a group exhibiotion. 28 Sixth Street, Parkhurst, Jhb. T. 011 880 0010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Manor Gallery 09-30 May, “New signatures” This exhibition is an opportunity for new members to gain points towards their Associateship at WWSSA. Norscot Manor Centre, Penguin Drive. T. 011 465 7934 email@example.com www.wssa.org.za Museum Africa Until 24 Dec 2010, “l’Afrique: A Tribute to Maria Stein-Lessing and Leopold Spiegel” co-curated by Nessa Leibhammer and Natalie Knight. 11 May-11 July, “SPace: Currencies in Contemporary African Art.” 121 Bree Str., Newtown, Johannesburg T. 011 833 5624 www.knightgalleries.net Resolution Gallery Until 01 June, “Foreign Affair” featuring works by Rodney Place and Leila Anderson. 142 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 880 4054 www.resolutiongallery.com Seippel Gallery 16 May-01 July, “A gentle invasion” by Auke de Vries. Arts on Main, Cnr of Fox and Berea, Johannesburg T. 011 401 1421 www.seippel-gallery.com Standard Bank Gallery Until 08 May, “Umtshotsho” by Nicolas Hlobo (SBYA) Cnr of Simmonds & Frederick Str.’s, Johannesburg, 2001 T. 011 631 1889 www.standardbankgallery.co.za University of Johannesburg Art Gallery 14 April-26 May, “Rendezvous focus original lithography” an exhibition of lithographical works from the extensive Elisabeth Pons collection in Paris, France. Includes works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky and Ossip Zadkine, William Kentridge, Judith Mason, Pontso Sikhosana, and Philemon Hlungwani. University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park Kingsway, Campus Cnr. Kingsway and Universiteids Rd., Auckland. T. 011 559 2099/2556 www.uj.ac.za/artsacademy
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.artwessels.co.za Association of Arts Pretoria Until 05 May, “Silence, Beauty & a Cup o’Tea” an exhibition of photographs and mixed media work by Uta Widera-Kleinsorge. Until 05 May, An exhibition of studio sketches by Carl Jeppe. 07-26 May, “Feeling light”, an exhibition of beach portraits by Martie Strydom. 09-27 May, “Baroque, Historical incarnations” an exploration and continuation of the past’s indulgence and delight and beauty by Johan Conradie and Friends. 28 May-15 June, Gables Art Studio. 30 May-17 June, “Unnatural Selection” by Henning Lüdeke. 173 Mackie Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, Pretoria. T. 012 346-3100 email@example.com www.artsassociationpta.co.za Brooklyn Theatre (In conjunction with Trent Gallery) Until 29 May, “Otto Klar” A selection of more than 30 artworks in all mediums, oil, water colour and drawing will be on display by the late artist Otto Klar, for the first time to the public. Brooklyn Theatre, Thomas Edison Street, Greenlyn Village Shopping Centre. Stuart @ 082 9232 551 Hardus @ 083 2640 753 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.trent-art.co.za +27 Design Café 29 April-17 May, A photographic exhibition by Phillip van Niekerk. Architectural photographs of the ruins of Kolmanskop, Namibie. Opening 29 April @ 7pm. 20 May-07 June, Drawings by Jaco Barend. Opening 20 May @ 7pm. Cnr South and Duncan Street, Hatfield, Pretoria. T. 012 362 4975 Fried Contemporary 29 April-30 May, “Private Logic” by Estelle van den Heever. 430 Charles St, Brooklyn, Pretoria. T. 012 346 0158 email@example.com www.friedcontemporary.com Gallery Michael Heyns Until 08 May, Exhibition of mixed media works by guest artist Martie Bothma Heyns. From 14 May, An exhibition of new works by Michael Heyns in his gallery. 351 Lynnwood Road Menlo Park Pretoria T.012 460 3698, Cell.082 451 5584 www.michaelheyns.co.za Platform on 18th 20 May-05 June, “Fever”, Group show. 232 18th Str., Rietondale, Pretoria T. 084 764 4258 www.platformon18th.co.za
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
ALEX DODD’S COLUMN
Pretoria Art Museum Until 30 May, “Intimate Scenes” print collection. Until 26 July, A selection of 17th-century Dutch paintings from the Michaelis Bequest. (Henry Preiss Hall) Until December, A selection of ceramics, representing the development of studio ceramics and the work of traditional rural potters of South Africa over the past thirty years, is on display. A selection of artworks from the permanent collection of the Museum tells a brief story of South African art from the time of the first San artists. North Gallery and Preiss Hall, T.012 344 1807/8 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pretoriaartmuseum.co.za Pretoria Trent Gallery 08-20 May, Photography by St John Fuller. 22 May-03 June, Oil Painting by Errol Boyley. 198 Long Street, Waterkloof, Pretoria. T. 012 460 5497. email@example.com, www.trent-art.co.za The Tina Skukan Gallery 09 May-03 June, “Patroon” group exhibition. Opening 09 May @ 11:30am. 6 Koedoeberg Rd, Faerie Glen, Pretoria. T. 012 991 1733 www.tinaskukangallery.co.za University of Pretoria Until 31 May, “Wings within timeless space by Bettie Cilliers-Barnard” T 012 420 2968 firstname.lastname@example.org www.up.ac.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 Dimitrov Art Gallery Until 03 May, “Expression of freedom” by Branko Dimitrov. Lifestyle Complex, shop no.4 on Cnr. Teding Van Berkhout & Hugenote / Naledi Streets, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga. T.013 254 05 24 email@example.com, www.dimitrovartgallery.co.za
ALEX DODD The mood that followed the recent murder of Eugene Terreblanche was so foreboding, the discussions so edged out and polarised, that I felt at times like I’d been swallowed up by an abyss of nihilism and paranoia. Call me a drama queen (you wouldn’t be the first), but I confess to having experienced some crushing breathless moments when it seemed like all the delicate capillary avenues of thought, discourse and possibility had been flattened out into impenetrable slabs of irreconcilable difference – like the rhetoric of clumsy warmongers was in dark ascendance.
Cane Cutter V by Helene Hugo is part of a show entitled: SA@work at the UJ Art Gallery from 2 June - 14 July
Tawonga with DH Spots, Richard Smith, a solo exhibition of drawings and paintings at Artspace –Jhb. Until 19 May, “New York” www.artspace-jhb.co.za
For someone with an active imagination and a prescient sense of history’s carnage, it was a scary week to live through. But there was also a tipping point – a surge of defiance when I thought there’s no way I’m going to sit back in the glow of my television and let these numbing, dumbing strokes of bland, senseless extremity wipe out my parallel universe. The South Africa I inhabit is not necessarily the same fraught and spectral nation state that gets conjured into being on the seven o’ clock news by the unnuanced voices of politicians and newsreaders. That is not the South Africa I experience driving down Barney Simon Street in Fordsburg every morning. Those streets have a life of their own. As someone who moves through the artistic and creative channels of this country on a daily basis, the South Africa I live in is a wildly hybrid, fiercely generative, future spirited kind of a place. It may well be a parallel universe, but it is the one I choose to give credence to. Stepping out into that parallel universe over the period since Terreblanche’s death has been a healing reminder that I am not alone. Increasing numbers of South African contemporary artists are engaged in projects that stretch beyond the bourgeois realm of their own private production within the essentially elite gallery system. They are stepping out into the streets, markets, parks, apartments, farms and Internet cafés of this country in an attempt to forge new allegiances and make fresh connections outside of class and race. Last week I attended the media launch of a heart-rending project called Hotel Yeoville, unfolding in the Yeoville public library over the next few months. Dreamed up by artist Terry Kurgan, in collaboration with a range of other creative media practitioners from across the continent and the globe, this online art project takes inspiration from the multi-functionality of the Internet cafes that thrive amidst the deeply plural immigrant communities of Yeoville. The project is two-fold. On the one hand it has a physical manifestation in the form of a series of specially designed booths in which members of the public are invited to record different aspects of their lives and histories, and tune into a range of useful online resources. It also has a virtual manifestation in the form of a website, where all this shared information and user-generated content comes to life. ‘The project aims to address the loneliness of migration, the idiosyncra-
sies of place and the threat of xenophobia by tapping into the vital role of the Internet café as a diasporic hub,’ says Kurgan. ‘We hope to kindle together the personal testimonies of people who are far from their homelands, trying to make a home in this new land.’ Instead of reporting on the violent and extreme outcomes of xenophobia, the project explores the roots of difference, attempting to give public airtime to the everyday conversations of migrants, refugees and foreigners. By sharing snippets from their everyday lives, loves, losses, gains, dreams and desires in each private booth, participants contribute to building a social map of the pan-African suburb in which they live. At the same time, they add to the development of the website’s community and social networks, helping people to navigate the city more easily. Gestures of love are often confined to the private realm, so I was greatly heartened by this public realm gesture of love, which seeks to reach out to people who are feeling like ‘aliens’ and remind them that we’re all human after all. Riding high on the spirit of Hotel Yeoville, I was further buoyed by Thenjiwe Nkosi’s Border Farm project, which opened at The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios last week. Although less of a massive curatorial undertaking, this project is informed by a similar impulse to create a safe space in which people whose lives and identities are threatened feel free to speak out. With thousands flooding out of Zimbabwe in the face of Robert Mugabe’s ongoing tyranny, most Zimbabweans head for South Africa’s cities, but some remain close to the border, working on farms in the far north of Limpopo province. Maroi Boerdery is a large melon and citrus farm about 10km west of the Beit Bridge border post on the South African side of the Limpopo river. During seven months of organising work, targeted discussion and workshops facilitated by Nkosi with Tapiwe Marovtsanga and Raymond Marlowe, a group of 25 people (mostly Zimbabwean) working the farm created the Maroi Farm Art and Drama Group through which they could speak out about common experiences and explore situations using drama, photographs, video and writing. The Bag Factory exhibition presented a cross section of what has emerged from the project, revealing some of the absurdity, humour, labours and longings of daily life along our northern border. Far from being dully prosaic, this exhibition seemed charged with a great spark of solidarity and good feeling, and was attended by a large appreciative crowd conjuring memories of activist days in the pre-1994 era (although the naive idealism of that era is long behind us). Both of these projects reminded me that those who never stopped struggling are still fighting the good fight and will continue to do so in the face of divisive forces like Julius Malema and the AWB. The struggle for hybridity, pluralism and freedom of nuanced expression continues. Aluta Continua! And there’s no need to kill any boers or immigrants while we’re at it.
Eastern Cape East London Ann Bryant Gallery The Main Gallery Until 01 May, Oils by Lorna Bradfield. Until 08 May, “Picturing America exhibition” Until 08 May, “An exploration of the Southern African geography, multimedia display.” 22 May-12 June, “Traces” a solo exhibition by Greg Schultz. The Coach House 06-22 May, “East London Fine Art Society Anything but painting” 9 St. Marks Rd, Southernwood, East London. T. 043 722 4044 www.annbryant.co.za
Port Elizabeth Montage Gallery During April and May, a mixture of Eastern Cape art on show, which will include paintings, ceramics and graphic work. 59 Main Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth. T. 041-5812893 firstname.lastname@example.org www.montagegallery.co.za Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum Until 02 May, “Animals in art.” various artists, various mediums. Part of the gallery’s collection. Until 16 May, “Insight” photography and video from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum’s Permanent Collections. Permanent exhibition, “Art in Mind” 08 May-10 October, “Ubuhle bentsimbi: The beauty of beads” 15 May-18 July, “Know your city” 22 May- 09 August, “Gateway to Africa” 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth. T. 041 506 2000 www.artmuseum.co.za
EASTERN AND WESTERN CAPE GALLERY LISTINGS Cape Gallery Until 08 May, Works by Frederike Stokhuyzen. 09-29 May, Works by Judy Woodborne and John Bauer. 30 May-26 June, Works by Peter Gray. 60 Church Street, Cape Town. T. 021 423 5309. email@example.com, www.capegallery.co.za Cape Town School of Photography Until 16 May, “Ramkraal Prison” a photographic exhibition by George Hugo. 4th Floor, 62 Roeland Street, Cape Town. T. 021 465 2152 firstname.lastname@example.org Carmel Art Dealers in Fine art, exclusive distributers of Pieter van der Westhuizen etchings. 66 Vineyard Rd., corner Cavendish Str., Claremont T.021 671 6601 Constantia Village Shopping Centre, Main Rd., Constantia T. 021 794 6262 Cedar Tree Gallery 11 May-10 June, Solo exhibition of paintings by Gavin Calf. Rodwell House, Rodwell Road, St James, Cape Town. T. 021 787 9880 email@example.com Christopher MǾller Art 14-30 May, “Blue”, a group show. 82 Church Str., Cape Town T. 021 439 3517 firstname.lastname@example.org www.christophermollerart.co.za David Porter Antiques Buyers and sellers of South African art. T. 021 6830580/083 452 5862 email@example.com
Erdmann Contemporary /Photographers Gallery Until 19 May, “Matters conceptual”, a two part multi- media group show. Until 29 May, “Group show” by Deanne Donaldson, Johann Louw, Brownwen Vaughan-Evans and Elizabeth Gunther. Opens 28 April @ 6pm. 29 May-26 June, “Diesel and dust Part II” by Obie Oberholzer. 63 Shortmarket Str., Cape Town T. 021 422 2762 firstname.lastname@example.org www.erdmanncontemporary.co.za
/A Word Of Art Until 15 May, “Nothing is Everything” a group show. 66 Albert rd, Woodstock Industrial Centre. T. 021 448 7889 email@example.com www.a-word-of-art.co.za
Everard Read Gallery Until 31 Jan 2011, “Untamed”, an installation by Dylan Lewis. 3 Portswood Road, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town. T. 021 418 4527 firstname.lastname@example.org www.everard-read-capetown.co.za
34 Fine Art Until 15 May, “Coolstuff” a group show. Second Floor Hills Building, Buchanan Square 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. www.34fineart.com
Focus Contemporary Until 01 May, A solo show of portraits by Marie Stander. Until 28 May, “I wear my mask for warmth” by Karin Miller. 67 Long street, Cape Town. T. 021 419 8888 email@example.com www.focuscontemporary.co.za
Ron Belling Art Gallery Until 07 May, Works by Truida Norval and Wehrner Lemmer. 30 Park drive, Port Elizabeth. T. 041-586 3973 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ronbelling.co.za
Alliance Française Until 03 May, Half Light by Janet Ranson. 155 Loop Str., Cape Town. T. 021 4235699 www.alliance.org.za The Arts Association of Bellville Until 05 May, “Disorder” a solo exhibition of sculptures by Ann Marais. 12 May-02 June, “Proudly South African-Vuk’uzenzele” (wake up and do for yourself, a CCT project photography workshops and exhibition. The Arts Association of Bellville, The Library Centre, Carel van Aswegan Street, Bellville. T. 021 918 2301 email@example.com, www.artb.co.za/gallery.htm Artscape Until 03 May, “3rd space exhibition” featuring Tony Mhayi, Angeline Lea and Tania Milner. ARTSCAPE Theatre Foyer space (Nico Malan) D F Malan Street, Foreshore, CT. T. 021 410 9800 firstname.lastname@example.org Atlantic Art Gallery A permanent display showcasing leading contemporary South African artists. 25 Wale Street, Cape Town. T. 021 423 5775 AVA 03-28 May, An exhibition of works by Richard Mason and Tamzyn Varney. Association for Visual Arts, 35 Church Street, Cape Town. T.021 424 7436 email@example.com www.ava.co.za Blank Projects Until 01 May, Ndizakuyuvula Ibahyibile by Khanyisile Mbongwa. 05 May-05 June, “Wise cracks” by Catherine Ocholla and “For Esmé, with love and squalor” by Dominique Cheminais. 113-115 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town. T.072 1989 221 firstname.lastname@example.org www.blankprojects.com
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
G2 Art Gallery Until 02 May, “Sound Fragments” an international exhibition by New Zealand artist Shannon Novak. 61 Shortmarket St. Between Loop Street and Bree Street, CT. T. 021 424 7169 email@example.com www.g2art.co.za www.shannonnovak.com Gallery F Contemporary and archival South African Art. 221 Long Str., Cape Town T. 021 422 5246 firstname.lastname@example.org www.galleryf.co.za Goodman Gallery, Cape Until 29 May, Recent works by David Koloane. 3rd Floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Rd., Woodstock, Cape Town T. 021 462 7573/4, www.goodmangallerycape.com iArt Gallery Until 13 May, An exhibition of Zwelethu Mthethwa’s mural-sized photographs, which have never before been shown in South Africa. Until 26 May, “Hippocampus” by Beth Armstrong. 71 Loop Street, Cape Town. T. 021 424 5150 www.iart.co.za iArt Gallery Wembley 05-29 May, “The best thing since spilt milk” by Audrey Anderson. Wembley Square, Gardens, Cape Town T. 021 424 5150, www.iart.co.za Infin Art Gallery A gallery of work by local artists. Wolfe Street Chelsea Wynberg T. 021 761 2816 and Buitengracht Str. Cape Town T. 021 423 2090 www.infinart.co.za
Ed Young’s new installation piece for IDASA’s Spin Street space. The piece, Flying Arch features (as you can see), a life-size super-naturalistic sculpture of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu swinging from a chandelier. The sculpture marks a departure for Young from his usual video and performance pieces, and also sees the artist producing an uncharacteristically cheerful work. Irma Stern Museum 11-27 May, Works by Janet Meintjies and Daniel Popper. Cecil Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town. T. 021 685 5686 www.irmastern.co.za Joao Ferreira Gallery Until 12 June, New paintings by Aaron van Erp. 70 Loop Street, Cape Town. T. 021 4235403 email@example.com www.joaoferreiragallery.com Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery 27 May-19 June, “Play” Oil paintings, drawings and wire sculptures by Ben Coutouvidis. In-Fin-Art Building, Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town T. 021 423 6075 firstname.lastname@example.org www.johansborman.co.za Kalk Bay Modern Until 07 May, “The assassination of Shaka” woodcuts by Cecil Skotnes. 1st Floor, Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Rd, Kalk Bay. T.021 788 6571 www.kalkbaymodern.com Michael Stevenson Contemporary Until 29 May, “A Dreadful Thing Is About to Occur” by Anton Kannemeyer, “Indawo Yami” by Zanele Muholi and “Neither Here nor There” by Glenn Ligon. Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Rd, Cape Town T. 021 462 1500 www.michaelstevenson.com Raw Vision Gallery 11 Feb-14 Sep 2010, “African Odyssey” 20 Internationally acclaimed photographers exhibiting. 89 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, email@example.com www.rawvisiongallery.com Rose Korber 01-31 May, “JM X 2” New abstract paintings by J.P. Meyer and recent portraits by John Murray. 48 Sedgemoor Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town T. 021 438 9152 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.rosekorberart.com Rust-en-Vrede Gallery Until 13 May, Salon A: Still by Theo Kleynhans. Salon B: Slice Participating artists: Jean de Wet, Marike Kleynscheldt, Wendy Gaybba, Christo Basson,Jan du Toit, Lionel Smit, Marlise Keith, Marié Stander, Madelein Marincowitz. Salon C: The extraordinary adventures of Sausage Jansen-Clench by Sarah Pratt. From 18 May, Salon A: Karoo Symphony by Johan Coetzee Salon B: Karoo Symphony by Gavin du Plessis Salon C: “Memories behind me” by Restone Maambo The Cube in the Clay Museum: Tea Bowls by 37 ceramists. 10 Wellington Rd, Durbanville. T.021 976 4692 www.rust-en-vrede.com
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
EASTERN AND WESTERN CAPE GALLERY LISTINGS | MELVYN MINNAAR’S COLUMN
Salon 91 Until 22 May, “Sifting through the madness” featuring Andrew Sutherland, Senyol, Candice Jezek, Jade Klara, Daniel Ting Chong and Gabrielle Raaff. Opening night 28 April @ 7:30pm. 26 May-19 June, “Transition, Emergence, and The Parts In Between”, oil paintings by Lara Feldman. Opening 26 May @ 7pm. 91 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town. T 021 424 6930. email@example.com www.salon91art.co.za South African Museum Until end July, “Subtle Thresholds, the representational taxonomies of disease”, a mixed media show curated by Fritha Langerman. 25 Queen Victoria Str., Cape Town T. 021 481 3800 www.iziko.org.za/sam South Gallery Showcasing creativity from KwaZulu-Natal including Ardmore Ceramic Art. Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Ground Floor. T. 021 465 4672 firstname.lastname@example.org SA National Gallery 15 April -30 September, “1910-2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective” a re-hang of the entire gallery is being curated to showcase South African art. 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town 021 481 3934 South African Print Gallery 08 May-15 June, “Time and Space, a retrospective of prints” Works by Jonathan Comerford. 107 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town. T. 021 462 6851 email@example.com www.printgallery.co.za Spier Contemporary Until 14 May, “Open for art” On 08-09 May, Live Performance Art. The City Hall, Cape Town. T. 0860 111 458 firstname.lastname@example.org www.spiercontemporary.co.za These Four Walls Fine Art Until 08 May, “The Baiting tree” photographs by Lise Hanssen from the Spotted Hyaena project. 169 Lower Main Road, Observatory T. 021 447 7393 Cell. 079 302 8073 janet@thesefourwalls www.thesefourwalls.co.za Waterkant Gallery Until 31 May, “The Flow of Stone, Scenes from the Desert” a solo show of photographs by Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht. 123 Waterkant Street, Cape Town. T. 021 421 1505 email@example.com www.waterkantgallery.com Wessel Snyman Creative Until 03 May, “Sex Cake Death” Selected Ceramic work. 04-29 May, Photographic works and sculpture by Elnette Viljoen. Furniture by Katie Thompson. Jewellery by Marius Koen. 17 Bree Street, Cape Town. T. 021 418 0980. What if the World… Until 29 May, “Tectonic” paintings by Jan-Henri Booyens. First floor, 208 Albert Rd, Woodstock, T.021448 1438 www.whatiftheworld.com Worldart Gallery 03-09 May, “Made in R.S.A” by Dale Yudelman. 54 Church Street, cape Town. T. 021 423 3075 www.worldart.co.za Youngblackman Gallery From 23 April, “The Winter of my Discothèque” by Jonathan Garnham. 69 Roeland Street, Cape Town. T. 083 383 0656 www.youngblackman69.com
Hermanus Abalone Gallery Until 15 May, “Ancient Playground” new works on canvas and on paper by Lynette ten Krooden. Gallery will be closed from 17 may to 08 June. 2 Harbour Rd, The Courtyard, Hermanus. T.028 313 2935 www.abalonegallery.co.za Bellini Gallery 01-09 May, “Chameleon”, paintings inspired by the beauty of nature by Ed Bredenkamp. 167 Main Rd, Hermanus. T. 028 312 4988 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bellini-gallery.co.za
Galerie L’ Art A permanent exhibition of old masters. Shop no 3, The Ivy, Kruger Str., Franschhoek T. 021 876 2497 www.galart.co.za The Gallery at Grande Provence Until 19 May, “Current Matters” by top South African up and coming, award winners as well as SA masters. 23 May-23 June, A solo exhibition by Frank van Reenen. Main Road, Franschoek. T. 021 876 8600. email@example.com www.grandeprovence.co.za
Piketberg AntheA Delmotte Gallery From 10 May, “Historical buildings of Piketberg” a group show. The exhibition will be hosted in the old Bioscope in Voortrekker Street and a public discussion around the creation of a Theatre and other projects like a Saturday market, by the owner Cobis Wilson, will be part of the opening. Opening 10 May @ 7pm. Feathers Inn, 1 Church Str, Piketberg 073 281 7273, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stellenbosch Art on 5 Permanent exhibition of paintings and ceramics by Maryna de Witt, Pera Schillings, and Karen Kieviet. 7b Andringa Str., Stellenbosch T. 021 887 7234 Dorp Straat Galery During May, “Group show” Church Street, Stellenbosch. T. 021 887 2256 www.dorpstraatgalery.co.za
Glen Carlou Estate On exhibition is The Hess Art Collection, including works by Deryck Healey, Ouattara Watts and Andy Goldsworthy. Simondium Rd, Klapmuts T. 021 875 5314 www.glencarlou.co.za Red, Black and White Art Gallery in Conjunction with amacoola.com Until 06 May, An exhibition of works by Caryn Munting, Coral Fourie, Leanette Botha and Fiona Rowett. 13-29 May, works by Gert Naude. Opening 13 May @ 7pm. 5A Distillery Road, Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch. T. 021 886 6281 email@example.com SMAC Art Gallery Until 23 May, “Super Boring” by Wayne Barker. De Wet centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch. T. 021 887 3607 www.smacgallery.com Tokara Until 25 May, “The spaces between, from looking to depicting” celebrating Estelle Marais and her Karoo. Crest of Helshoogte pass on the R310 between Stellenbosch and Franschoek. T. 021 808 5900 www.tokara.com
George Strydom Gallery 08 June-17 July, “Annual Winter Exhibition of Southern Cape Art” Selected artwork from artists of the Southern Cape. 79 Market Str., George T. 044 874 4027 www.artaffair.co.za
Knysna Knysna Fine Art 29 April-03 May, “Pink Loerie Exhibition” featuring DP Ferreira, Mike Vlok and Paul Birchall. 8 Grey Str., Knysna, T.044 382 5107 www.finearts.co.za
Melvyn Minnaar The Artful Viewer: May 2010 Art in the Park? The shimmering bowl, the brand-new Cape Town stadium, is indeed a fine building. It may be in the wrong place (due to the Fifa bigwigs’ pressure), and it certainly cost a ridiculous amount of money for a few weeks of attention next month, but there it is. Taking shape around it is perhaps the even greater thrill and reward of the effort: the relocated gholf course and totally reconstructed Green Point ‘common’ - a real people’s urban park for Cape Town in the making. A sneak, getting-up-close inspection of the astoundingly enterprising 18 ha project (the park, in particular, with hefty ‘greening’ going on, at a price of some R311 million) before it is opened to the public soon (a massive party is planned), reveals endless possibilities for art interventions. A walk around the area will have all artists vaguely interested in contributing to public aesthetics by way of sculpture or whatever, up in enthusiastic arms. These are spaces that call out for art. Stroll along the broad main outside podium - a vast empty platform with its curious, minimalist luminating rods - and the space seems to ache for sculpture or flags or whatever the inventive artistic mind can come up with. Look up at the glimmering off-white skin of the looming building, and one can visualise projections, lighting tricks and shows. Walk along the interior, interlinking, patron-friendly stadium corridors and concession areas and one thinks of murals, paintings and sculpture. Admire the two more formal squares, outside to the south and east, linking with the wonderful old Fort Wynyard with its neat new paving, lawns and trimmed trees, and again one can imagine magnificent fun statues, playful fountains or installations. However, although the city of Cape Town has admirably jumped into the deep end (also of debt, probably) to rejuvenate this splendid precinct, they forgot (to give the bureaucrats and politicians the benefit of the doubt) about public art. (Actually they simply ignored it. Unlike Durban and Johannesburg.) Not a sign of art is to be seen on any little meander as described above. And, from what one can decipher from the bureaucratic silence or jumbled talk, there is nothing or little to look forward to. This then is the present situation, a month before the football visitors arrive:
Kevin Brand is making a sculpture for the Mouille Point beach front. An commendable choice, for Brand is one of the country’s best skilled public art exponents, yet the process was never clearly explained in public, and the money is, reportedly, very little. (And, anyway, this is part of a separate beach front project.) The city council has put out an advertisement for a “quotation for design, supply and installation of educational art and display items for the biodiversity showcase garden in the Green Point park”. The idea, it seems, is to develop an education facility near the new water feature being built in the centre of the park. Admirable, but vague. No budget was given for the above and entries closed mid-April, so we’ll have to see who could decode that rather odd invitation to come up with ‘education art and display items’. This bit of pie-in-the-sky balloon-flying is typical of the unstructured thinking that seems to come from Cape Town officials when dealing with art. The things are simply not thought through properly. For the stadium and surrounds, a number of artists (no names are officially known) have submitted, what council officials off-the-record call “unsolicited art works”. The subtext here, of course, is not only that they didn’t think of it before, but there is no way in hell the council is going to spent money on it. The bureaucrats have passed the buck to the local office of Vansa as a ‘service provider’ to sort out the mess. How, no-one is saying. So far the names of prominent artists Herman van Nazareth and Andries Botha have cropped up for providing sculptures for the vicinity of the stadium. Botha’s handmade elephants would make a wonderful contribution, particularly to that ‘biodiversity showcase’. (His Langa memorial proposal was shot down a few months ago.) Van Nazareth, the well-known South African/Belgian artist who has work all over the world (he showed public sculpture in Beijing during the Olympics), is prepared to loan a major piece to the council. Of course, this is not how it should have been. An open process, planned and decently thought out and run be experts, with proper funding, could easily have been foreseen when the entire stadium projects kicked off in all its local political and ultra-expensive glory. But then the Cape Town bureaucrats are simply upholding a long tradition of muddling along as far as art and culture are concerned.
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Revitalised, a real art museum experience
1910-2010 From Pierneef to Gugulective. Review: Melvyn Minnaar Walking shoes, time on hand, a curious gaze and an open mind are requirements for venturing into this ambitious project. Of course, all those things are what we take along on our open-eyed, expectant visits to each and every great art palace in the world. The basic accoutrements of the art tourist, excited and ready for the allure of great art holdings, these are the tools for experiencing the visual and spatial pleasures of museums. When last did you need to be so prepared locally? The ‘Re-hang’, as it is also known, or, officially, 1910-2010 From Pierneef to Gugulective is a big, diverse show. Of the 800 or so works on show, about half comes from the Iziko SANG permanent collection. Others were sourced from various galleries, museums, private holdings and artists themselves. It’s been an enormous job, done in a couple of months. At last, some would say, we get to see the small and large masterpieces (and the others) wheedled into the Iziko collection over a hundred years by numerous ‘acquisitions committees’ and a handful of directors (remember that job?). For a long time, fans were wondering whether the old stuff is still holding up in the store room. It is indeed a marvellous encounter to come across, in real life, art not seen for some time. Many works, iconic in South African art history, are housed in the Iziko collection. It’s great to see them. How those oldies dance on the walls! The rush to get the show on the road, of course, had it’s downside. The main drawback is the lack of information. In fact, there is
none such - at the moment. (A proper book and website is planned for later, according to curator Riason Naidoo, who has been working closely with all the institution’s in-house experts. Joe Dolby being a key figure.) But, then again, one suspects that the curatorial strategy - as played out in the (a little too crowded) hanging arrangements - is first and foremost one that calls on the visitor’s eye and mind. And leaves the thinking for later. What this show, unashamedly, aims at is to showcase South African art. The Iziko collection, certainly - and attractively so (great choices were made in decades gone by). But, by augmenting it with loans, a wider view of South African art unfolds, shifting what has always, in reality, been a local art gallery collection(with aspirations, yes, certainly), to a broader one, the one inferred by the institution’s original title. Of course, it can and would never be absolute overview. And it’s not quite sure where the present balance is right. But Naidoo has no qualms about the tourist/visitor intend. The decks were cleared (other projects canned) and all the rooms claimed for a big show that hopes to attract serious attention during the upcoming football event’s influx of visitors. Nothing wrong with that, given that no one else in the country has undertaken anything similar. (Except those terrible, official commercial art ventures loaded with kitsch.) The first few days since the exhibition opened has already delivered somewhat of a stream of visitors. There is an air of liveliness around.
By turning the SANG upside down in a manner of speaking (and perhaps upsetting some) for this sweeping expo, the gallery indicates that things can be done in a different way. The past few years the museum has too often had to act like a contemporary art gallery (because Cape Town has no such space). Housing fleeting visiting exhibitions, some hastily curated themed shows, all the while holding up one or two of the ancient paintings as well, it sometimes felt unfocussed and wobbly. And a trifle confusing to the foreign visitor. (Communication with the wider public, including local Capetonians, has been an on-going deficiency.) The show may be a bit unwieldy and has its odd choices. (The Tretchikoff is not really needed, but then the ‘Black Christ’ too is not the world’s greatest art work. The placing of the show-withina-show Us in the first room is questionable.) But it works for what it sets out to be, not more, not less.
Those used to heavy curatorial schemes and themes (often oh so pretentious) may feel the need for guidance. Don’t. Simply start from the right and work your way around. Small themes prop up all over the place. Lovely dialogues take place between unusual wall mates. There are colours and forms that connect or reflect. There is a range of media, but none claim an overbearing presence. And, of course, one can simple trod around, find your favourite picture, love it, and walk out. The feeling of freshness - of old stuff dusted-off and put up in the light - of the ‘re-hang’ makes it all worthwhile. It looks good and it has an air of vitality. Take up yout art accoutrements and have a look.
But that is not really the point.
‘Frustrated Argument’ in Search of Curation
Wayne Barker: Super Boring at Smac, Stellenbosch Review: Melvyn Minnaar A highly-punted retrospective that is not a retrospective. A smartlyproduced catalogue which is nothing of the sort, more of a ‘we-loveyou’ booklet of anecdotes. A messy muddle of an exhibition title, no matter which way you consider it. All this can all be forgiven because the artist is the wayward, wacko Wayne Barker. What cannot be forgiven is that this expensive (well, it looks like it) exercise which promised so much, led to so little. What we, admirers of his talent needed and expected, was a show curated so as to show up his talent, explain some of it, and, perhaps, put some context to it. We walk away empty-handed, overwhelmed by, well, the emptiness of being overwhelmed. How many times can a neon light (a la Tracy Emin) light-up the nonsensical phrase ‘Super Boring’? It is general knowledge that Barker has a deep distrust of the mechanics of the art world. As pointed out in one or two of the more intelligent bits of text in the Smac gallery’s lush publication (in which the photographs often appear more interesting than the actual art on show), Barker lives the ornery life of the challenging, everquestioning artist to the full.
It’s a way of life (actually the classic, modernist romantic role of the colourful artist as outsider tramp in social firing-bombing mode) that can lead to a vigorous tension between establishment and true invention. When played effectively, pulled off with panache, despite the dangers and bourgeoisie concerns, sparks can fly Electrifying, memorable art can come of it. But gallerists, being in the business, will require (even if they hate to admit it) controlled chaos. More importantly, curators, wanting to probe the simulacra of the artistic process (and, hopefully, explain some to us) will need to see and experience the essence of it. Call that the best, most characteristic and individual of an artist’s work. Somewhere in-between all this, the ordinary art viewer wanders in, hoping. It could be that there were just too many clashing elements, too many interests, too much tension to pull off an exhibition which, one imagines, was well-intended and planned to return Barker’s career to the spotlight. Curatorial management is the breakdown. Instead of a career retrospective, most of the space in the main is taken up by new pieces, which, sadly, shoddily show up their recent
providence. These half-jokey pictures have little of the impact of Barker’s earlier work - of which a few jolly examples did make it to this show. (His 1995 Pierneef send-up, which has just gone up as part of the new Iziko SANG overview, is so much more powerful in its satirical onslaught .) Earlier work is undoubtedly the more engaging. In these Barker often engaged robustly with the various media he so cunningly employ. Subverting it, yes, but also heightening its visual presence and place. (The work he did as finalist in the Sasol Wax show, a few years ago, is a gripping example.) His installations have a quirky theatricality. (His 1995 Scurvy contribution in 1995 was heartbreaking.) He certainly know how to put zippiness to found objects. This, his sense of the concentrated signal, is what compels the better of Wayne Barker’s art, no matter how outrageous its reach. But too much is too much; the superficial wears thin. Until May 23 *The exhibition is scheduled for the Polokwane art museum in September, and the Standard Bank gallery in February, 2011.
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
KZN GALLERY LISTINGS | PETER MACHEN’S COLUMN
Peter Machen So, continuing with the whole porn debacle – paradoxically ignited by Lulu Xingwana’ objection to Zanele Muholi’s entirely uninflamatory photographs of African women in bed together – I couldn’t help but feel some alarm when I noticed a Daily News headline about a possible internet porn ban. I didn’t get it together to buy the paper that day but a quick bout of googling revealed that Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has asked for advice from the South African Law Reform Commission regarding the feasibility of banning pornography on the internet and television. The minister’s behaviour may be slightly more considered and less autocratic than Xingwana’s comments but it is equally ignorant both of our Constitution and of South African reality. At the same time, the minister is perfectly happy with the fact that we can go to a sex shop and buy as much hardcore porn as we want. Does he know that porn is in fact completely legal and, so long as it depicts consenting adults, is guaranteed by freedom of expression? Has he thought about the fact that freedom of expression must include freedom of distribution if it is to have real meaning? Has he pondered for even half a second on how such a ruling would clog up our already saturated legal system? Has he considered the slippery slope? Because what happens when some morally righteous idiot decides that work such as Muholi’s constitutes porn? (And as I pointed out last month, it’s not just Lulu but most of the contributors to The Times webforum who consider Muholi’s work to be porn). And what about the increasing number of non-pornographic films that contain scenes that might be considered pornographic? Has anyone seen the John Cameron Mitchell film Shortbus? I’d send both ministers a copy if I didn’t think that they’d turn it off the moment they saw the opening shot of a young man trying, with a degree of success, to perform autofelatio. But if they managed to watch the entire film, they might just hear the siren call for freedom that it sounds so beautifully and movingly, cock shots and all. In fact I’m almost wondering if the local porn shop industry has Gigaba in their pocket. If he succeeded in banning internet porn, those shops would experience a dramatic increase in foot traffic. But I imagine that in Gigaba’s perfect world, he wouldn’t just want to ban porn on the internet. It seems likely that he’d like to ban it outright (for the children). And while his chances of success would be nil, it’s the intention that is worrying. We don’t need moral guardianship. We need houses. Our schools need running water and toilets, libraries and art classes. Our children need to be literate and our economy needs a vast number of jobs to be created. These are the things that our government should be worrying about. They shouldn’t be looking after our genitals. (Although doing so does distract from the real issues at hand).
(Top and bottom right): Work by Ann Cleveland from a show at the KZNSA Gallery entitled Twelve 20 April - 2 May (Below left) Janet Solomon from the same show.
What is missing in this and many other ill considered proposed governmental interventions is a fundamental misunderstanding of freedom of speech. Noam Chomsky said it most succinctly: “If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.” It’s true that to allow other people their freedom is almost as hard as dealing with our own. And it seems that the only time that censorship can be justified is when it features non-consenting subjects or when the expression being censored is likely to encourage violence against specific groups or individuals, which is why Julius Malema is not allowed to sing his current favourite song in South Africa (although I’m sure he goes crazy in the shower). And this also means that every government minister is entitled to say exactly what they want, no matter how it offends more sensitive souls. But it does not mean that they can apply their personal beliefs to undermine rights that the constitution explicitly guarantees – even if they have the backing of the majority of the population. And while we’re at it I’d like to take a dig at this moral majority that has such apparent political power. Most South Africans are easily outraged on moral issues, part of an essentially conservative characters that crosses all demographics (except perhaps for age). And yet anyone who takes a broad view of our society is simply not going to arrive at the conclusion that we’re a profoundly moral people or anything close to it. (And as for those who have headed our moral regeneration projects, they are clearly dwelling in the land of irony). But what is most concerning is the very idea that you can police the internet. It’s either free or it’s not, and if the government can search our content for pornography, what’s to stop them searching our data for political opposition or anything else that takes their fancy? And once they’re policing the internet, our galleries and canvases will be next. Anyone remember the Nats and their obsession with such things? Or have we all forgotten? It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad...
MAY’S GALLERY LISTINGS KZN
Durban The African Art Centre Durban 12-26 May, Msinga Landscapes in oil by Jannie van Heerden, sculptures by Zolani Mpente. 94 Florida, Durban. T. 31 312 3804/5 firstname.lastname@example.org www.afriart.org.za Alliance Francaise 05-28 May, “Fleshy Wasteland” by Retha Ferguson. 22 Sutton Crescent, Morningside, Durban. T. 031 312 9582 email@example.com www.alliance.org.za Artisan Contemporary 29 May-20 June, “Local is Lekker” an exhibition of work by South African professional and student jewelers. 344 Florida Road, Durban. T. 031 312 4364 firstname.lastname@example.org www.artisan.co.za ArtSPACE Durban Until 08 May, “Waters” a travelling exhibition featuring Jill Trappler, Kristina Korpela, Leena Patola, Witty Nyide, Jaana Partanen and Eunice Geustyn. 10-29 May, “Exposed…” by Jackie Freer, “Cultural Fusion” by Tania de Bruyn. 31 May-19 June, “Ceramics SA KZN Regional Exhibition and the Garret Artists”, “Slices of Lives” South African Workdays in Woodcut by Jeff Rankin, Photographs by Kay Berg.
3 Millar Road, Stamford Hill, Durban. T.031 312 0793 email@example.com www.artspace-durban.com Durban Art Gallery Until 01 August, “The Interactive Street Child Experience” Until 10 May, “Dialogue Among Civilisations”, an Art for Humanity Project. Durban University of Technology in association with Kulturladen Huchting, Bremen. 2nd Floor City Hall, Anton Lembede St (former Smith St) Durban T. 031 311 2264 firstname.lastname@example.org Elizabeth Gordon Gallery A variety of new South African artworks, including paintings by Hugh Mbayiwa, Nora Newton, Wheildon and Hussein Salim. 120 Florida Rd., Durban. T. 031 303 8133 email@example.com www.elizabethgordon.co.za KZNSA Gallery Until 02 May, PPC (the Professional Practice Course run over 3 months at the gallery, which culminates in a group show) exhibiting in the Main gallery and the Mezzanine gallery. James Webb exhibiting in the Park Gallery and with an installation on the outside wall. 04-09 May, Tibetan mandala (a group of monks will be creating a mandala, using coloured sand sand) inside the gallery. This will be supported by a photographic exhibition of Tibet. 11-30 May, Works by Cedric Nunn, Amy-Jo Windt, Steven Cohen and Red Ants. 166 Bulwer Rd., Glenwood. T. 031 2023686 www.kznsagallery.co.za
Margate Margate Art Museum Museums art collection on display. T.039 312 8392 C.072 316 8094 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pietermaritzburg The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery 01-31 May, An exhibition by Ezequiel Mabote. The Blue Caterpillar art gallery at Butterflies for Africa 37 Willowton Road, Pietermaritzburg. T. 033 3871356 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org www.artsales.co.za Tatham Art Gallery During May, “The Whitwell collection” (Perimeter Gallery, first floor) From 08 June, “Jabulisa 2010 The art and craft of Kwazulu-Natal.” Cnr of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Rd. and Church Str. (Opposite City Hall) Pietermaritzburg T. 033 342 1804 www.tatham.org.za
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Russian bidders see bargains as volcano damps auction By Katya Kazakina (Bloomberg) -- Barely half a dozen Russian collectors made it past the Icelandic ash cloud to attend Sotheby’s Russian art auction in New York yesterday. The two-day sale took in $13.6 million, comfortably within its presale estimate of $10.7 million to $15.1 million. Christie’s will present a smaller batch of Russian art on Friday, with the estimated range from $5.2 million to $7.4 million. Yesterday, Sotheby’s focused on fine art and Faberge, offering about 280 lots and fetching $5.5 million, including commission; 30 percent of the lots failed to sell, and many barely squeezed past their low estimates, yet the results were within Sotheby’s presale estimate of $4.2 million to $6 million. About 30 people total were present in the hushed, half-empty auction room. “It’s the double whammy of the economic crisis and the volcano,” said Nikolai Bachmakov, a New York-based Faberge expert. “Many dealers and collectors couldn’t get here in time. And people are holding on to their money tighter than before.” The auction included 55 lots from the estate of New York collector Frances H. Jones, which have been off the market for almost 40 years and generated active bidding. That was the most successful part of the sale, generating $1.8 million, well over the high estimate of $1.2 million.
Mthethwa’s balancing act Lauren Clifford-Holmes First Published in Mail & Guardian Artist Zwelethu Mthethwa’s long-awaited monograph will be launched this month. Simply titled Zwelethu Mthethwa, and published by the Aperture Foundation in New York, it provides an overview of Mthethwa’s photographic work to date and features the portraits that have brought him international acclaim. In his essay, titled Photography after the End of Documentary Realism, Okwui Enwezor of the San Francisco Art Institute concludes that Mthethwa “challenges conventional ideas of the black subject as a ground-down, disposessed, disempowered and abject figure in need of social sympathy. “His grand images present the emancipatory possibility of colour; its ability to infuse life into beleagured communities and to speak persuasively of the dignity of the subjects in the face of their entrapment.” Why the decision to move from painting into photography in 1996 and what were your reasons for avoiding the black-and-white medium? Well, I’ve never really moved from painting to photography. Photography has always been part of my life. When I was a kid -- I think I was around six years old -- I went to movies every Saturday. I think that’s where everything started. So I am very much influenced by cinema, by photography and growing up. The first books I think I read were comic books. Comic books are like still photographs. When I was a teenager -- maybe when I was around 13 -- I got my first camera and I started taking photographs. I drew as well as a young kid, so I have always traded between photography and drawing and painting. In Okwui Enwezor’s prologue to your book he starts by saying “South Africa’s often-told story is always framed by the experience of apartheid”. How do you respond to this statement? I think that is very true, because when you look at the land issue, it covers almost everything -- who has the right to own the land, who has the right to build a house, to own a plot, who has the right to own a field? We are framed by that. You know, when you move people from the cities back to the rural areas, when you deport people, these [experiences] are framed by the issues of land and ownership. How do you reconcile framing black South Africans as dignified and defiant, even under the duress of social and economic hardship, which beautifies poverty? There is a very thin line when I photograph black people who are poor and I make them public, or I show them in exhibitions, because I’m treading in very shallow waters here. It is so easy to make poverty beautiful. It is so easy to idealise things. But if you look at the history of how black people have been photographed, or how black people have been placed in our history, it’s a very interesting journey.
One must go back to the time when you had to have an identity document, which used to be called a “dompas”. If you look at those photographs, which were black and white but were highly underexposed, they used strong flash bulbs that deleted all the details that we have on our faces. You were just left with the nose, the eyes and the mouth. And most of the eyes would be shut because of the strong light. So, those pictures were ethnographic in a sense because it was just a record that they used to say that you are in this zone; you have a permit. This was your passport to the city. And that was the basis of photography for black people. If you look at my photographs, they are in colour. The resemblance is very close to what people look like. Now go back to the early 1980s or 1990s -- the height of documentary photography in South Africa -- and you had photographers who went into different communities, different neighbourhoods, and they took photographs that were black and white. But they didn’t spend a lot of time with the people they were photographing. Now when you take a photograph in colour you tend to notice the colour of the shirt, or the blouse, you tend to notice the colour of the room, what is on the walls. You are not just looking at poverty, per se, poverty is not right in your eye. You’re looking at the textures. And colour has a history of emotions. In different cultures colour has got meaning. Basically you deal with key issues: the crisis of dwelling and habitation, and the production of sovereignty, land and labour. Let’s talk about your interiors. The photographs are a celebration of people who are living. It’s a celebration of life. They are not just used as mere documents for propaganda -- it’s in their homes, they live there. They are as real as any other people in this world. They have a choice in the way that they have been photographed. It’s a celebration -- they are living, they are human beings. What I choose to show is that people living in these not-very-good-looking conditions have the energy to turn that around and make their homes aesthetically pleasing. Because they make their homes with very little money and their homes are very warm. Let’s talk about your landscape images, such as the sugarcane series, and the way you have portrayed the dynamic between the subject and the landscape. You have placed subjects to show both their autonomy and their entrapment (or even enslavement) by the land and the labour they perform. The photographs focusing on sugar-cane cutters refer back to a very old history where man is battling with the field. You know, we try to conquer the Earth, and we exploit and abuse the Earth, but eventually we fail. The Earth will always conquer. And there has always been an interest in and balance between man and land. Zwelethu Mthethwa: Photographs by Zwelethu Mthethwa will be launched at iArt Gallery, 71 Loop Street, Cape Town, on April 22. To coincide, mural-size photographs by the artist will be shown for the first time in South Africa. For more information visit www.iart.co.za
A persistent telephone bidder paid $182,500 for a carved agate figure of a she-goat by Faberge, more than 12 times the work’s presale low estimate of $15,000. An elegant blue lapis lazuli bowl resting on legs shaped as gold dolphins fetched $116,500, compared with a $50,000 low estimate. A small pink rhodonite desk clock, also by Faberge, took in $134,500, more than four times its low estimate of $30,000. ‘A Magic Name’ “Faberge is a magic name,” said Karen Kettering, vice president of Russian works of art at Sotheby’s. The top lot of the day was a bronze depicting four North African horsemen wielding guns, by Evgeny Lanceray (1848-86). A Russian collector in the room bought the work for $326,500, setting a new auction record for the 19th-century bronze master who died of tuberculosis. A day before the sale, Sotheby’s sent out an e-mail to its clients confirming that the New York auctions will proceed as planned despite “recent travel complications across Europe.” “People didn’t want to wait till the last moment or risk missing their flights to New York,” said Andrei Chervichenko, Moscow-based collector of Faberge and former owner of Spartak soccer club. “That definitely had an impact on today’s prices. With fine art, you have to touch things, examine things before buying expensive works.” Seven-Hour Wait Chervichenko had to wait seven hours at the airport before boarding a plane to New York on Monday. He took advantage of the often muted bidding and bought several works from the Jones estate, including a carved elephant for $31,250 and a Faberge nephrite box with gold and jeweled lock and hinges for $15,000. “The prices are much lower than they used to be,” he said. “It’s a great time to buy, especially the pieces that are not so obvious.” Today, Sotheby’s offered Russian paintings, including a group by Pavel Tchelitchew from the estate of New York collector Ruth Ford. A Russian collector in the room paid $986,500 for a portrait of Ford, depicted as a 26-year-old with streaming dark hair, bettering the high estimate of $200,000. The buyer declined to identify himself and said only that he came to the U.S. before the ash cloud curtailed international travel. A telephone bidder dropped $1.99 million for a group of 86 works by early20th-century Ukrainian artists assembled by Yakov Pereman, who lived in Odessa until moving to Palestine in 1919. The Pereman collection was presented for sale as a single lot with an estimated price of $1.5 million to $2 million.
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BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
‘Extraordinary’ art collection to go on sale
April’s SWELCO Johannesburg Sale results: Preller the star
By Michael Coulson The collection includes 1905 work Arbres a Collioure, by Andre Derain. Arbres a Collioure by Andre Derain, 1905, has an estimate of £9m to £14m.
First published on BBC.com A collection of paintings by artists including Picasso, Cezanne and Derain, which lay undiscovered in a vault for 40 years, will be sold in June. Some 141 paintings belonging to dealer Ambroise Vollard were put in a French bank following his death in 1939 by his assistant who then died. Although they were discovered in 1979, legal wrangling over ownership mean they are only now coming to auction. They are expected to fetch up to £16.6m at Sotheby’s in London and Paris. Dispute resolved Mr Vollard’s assistant, Erich Slomovic, placed the works in the Societe Generale bank before he fled to his native Yugoslavia where he was killed by the Nazis in 1942.
Sotheby’s said the “extraordinary works” remained untouched until 1979 when the Paris bank was allowed to open the vault so it could sell the contents to recoup unpaid storage fees. A planned auction in 1981 was cancelled as the heirs of Mr Vollard and Mr Slomovic began a legal dispute over ownership which was finally resolved in 2006. Works being auctioned in Paris include Cezanne’s Portrait d’Emile Zola Arbres a Collioure, a 1905 work by Andre Derain - a pioneer of the avant-garde fauve style along with Henri Matisse - will be sold in London on 22 June and has an estimate of £9m to £14m. When boldly-coloured works completed in the coastal town of Collioure by Derain and Matisse were exhibited at the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris in 1905, one critic described the pair as “Les Fauves”, which means “the wild beasts”.
Helena Newman, vice chairman of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, said: “We are very excited to be offering the wonderful landscape by Derain in London in June. “Its strong, fauve colours and powerful composition, combined with its extraordinary provenance, will be extremely appealing to today’s international buyers.” The current record for a Derain is £8.5m, Sotheby’s said. The other 140 works from the collection of Vollard, described by Sotheby’s as “the legendary dealer who was at the heart of the exciting developments in the Paris art world in the early 20th century”, will be sold in Paris on 29 June. They include an etching by Picasso as well as Cezanne oil painting Portrait d’Emile Zola and are collectively expected to fetch about £2.6m.
This week’s Swelco sale in Jo’burg confirmed that while the art market – like others – may be over the worst, the recovery is not dramatic. In the main, evening, session, 97 of the 162 SA art lots sold, or about 59.5%. But those that did sell generally went for well above the low estimate, the gross for this session of just under R7.55m being 74.7% of the low estimate of R10.1m. On the other hand, nine of the 16 highest-estimate lots failed to sell, and the top price of R896 000 (including buyer’s premium) for a Preller still life (the cover lot) was well within the estimate range of R600 000-R900 000. No other lot reached R500 000, the closest being R470 000 for a Preller study (est R400 000-R600 000) and R448 000 for a Skotnes painted wood panel (est R400 000-R600 000). Skotnes in fact was in demand: another of his panels was the only one of the top 16 to beat the high estimate, fetching R336 000 (est R200 000R300 000). Other noteworthy prices include
R392 000 for an Irma Stern flower study (est R400 000-R600 000), R368 000 for yet another Skotnes panel (est R300 000-R500 000), R246 000 for Van Wouw’s Dagga Smoker (a fine SA casting) and R224 000 for a Van Essche portrait (est R200 000-R300 000). Though the absolute figures are much lower, the afternoon session of minor work actually fared relatively better – as in the firm’s Cape Town sale in February. Some 76 of the 116 lots, or 65.5%, were sold, grossing just under R745 000, 102% of the total low estimate. The three top prices were all well above the estimate range. Joe Maseko’s mixed media The Musicians fetched R33 600, a Pierneef etching/aquatint R28 000 (both est R7 000-R10 000), and a Nicolaaas Maritz landscape R24 640 (est R6 000-R9 000). Adding the sessions together, 62,2% of 278 lots were sold, for just under R8.3m – 76.5% of the low estimate of R10.8m and an average price of just over R47 900 (just under R9 800 in the afternoon and R77 800 in the evening). This is pretty much on par with the
Cape sale, which grossed about R8.6m, trailing the low estimate of R10.5m, with an average price realised of R46 140 and 71% sold by number. The artists most in demand, with 100% of lots sold, were Skotnes (nine), William Kentridge (seven) and, unusually, Tinus de Jongh (five). At the other end of the scale, only four of 11 Errol Boyleys went and two of five Adriaan Boshoffs. Others well represented included Walter Battiss (seven of 11 sold), Gabriel de Jongh (four of seven), Erich Mayer (three of seven) and Johan Oldert and Edward Roworth (each three of five). Casualties included the Tretchikoff flower study (est R250 000R350 000), a most unattractive piece. Elsewhere in the sale, and somewhat surprisingly, only one of the four motor cars sold: a 1962 Porsche 356 BT6 cabriolet, for R1.064m (est R1m-R1.2m). Next auction highlights are Strauss’s first Joburg sale of the year, on May 24, and Graham Britz’s promised first auction, also announced for that month.
SOUTH AFRICAN AUCTIONS
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Strauss & Co. Auction of Important South African, British and Continental Paintings and Sculpture Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead, 24 May 2010, 4pm and 8pm See more details at www.straussart.co.za
Irma Stern: Still Life with Gladioli and Fruit, R 4 000 000 – 5 000 000
Strauss & Co, South Africa’s premier auction house with Stephan Welz, leading auctioneer and expert at its helm, announces yet another spectacular auction which takes place at the Johannesburg Country Club, Woodmead on 24 May 2010. One of the highlights is a 1949 painting of Barberton (estimate R700 000 – 1 000 000) by J.H. Pierneef, unusual for its homestead in the foreground, beyond which stretches a sun-drenched valley populated with houses. Rarely does an auction house offer such a wide range of still lifes from different periods of Irma Stern’s career. From an early still life painted in 1934 to a unique middle-period painting of proteas to a late painting produced in 1960, these works provide an exceptional opportunity to examine the changes in Stern’s approach not just to this particular genre but to the handling of her medium and to larger questions of the nature of painting in a rapidly changing world. Still Life with Gladioli and Fruit (estimate R4 000 000 – 5 000 000) is a superb example of Stern’s mastery of her medium displaying some of the lessons learnt from her mentor, German Expressionist painter Max Pechstein. The generous form of a favourite green vase (which also appeared in Still Life with Dahlias on Strauss & Co’s inaugural Cape Town sale in October 2009) is located at the centre of the composition from which the green stems radiate. Soft pink blooms with luscious highlights are articulated with rose-coloured lines that are echoed in the polka-dot pink cloth. The rich buttery yellow background is a completely unexpected choice of colour against the foreground pinks. All is painted with substantial impasto strokes and a palpable appeal that makes one imagine that one can reach into the painting to inhale the fragrance of fresh flowers and take a bite from an apple.
Maggie Laubser: A Still Life of a Jug with Nasturtiums and Apples on a Table R 250 000 – 350 000
While closely associated with German Expressionism, it is clear that Maggie Laubser’s A Still Life of a Jug with Nasturtiums and Apples on a Table (estimate R 250 000 – 350 000) also owes a debt to Paul Cézanne’s Post-Impressionist vision. By contrast, Maurice van Essche’s Malay Woman with a Coffee Pot (estimate R400 000 – 600 000) painted in 1965, displays the strong impact of analytical Cubism on post-war artists in South Africa. Here the tonal modulation and plainar treatment of large blocks of solid colour illustrate the gradual move towards abstraction. The Thames at Sunset (estimate R300 000 – 500 000) is one of several paintings by the illustrious Maud Sumner. In this study of reflections, the liquid subtleties of colour articulated by fine drawing encapsulate the impact of analytical cubism as translated through British artists like John Piper. A significant number of works by Edoardo Villa, Cecil Skotnes, Sydney Kumalo, Giuseppe Cattaneo and Cecily Sash who exhibited together as the Amadlozi Group, a name meaning ‘spirit of the ancestors, are included in this auction. According to Stephan Welz “visitors to the preview at The Country Club at Woodmead will have a rare opportunity to see the works of these artists who as a group and as individuals, have had a marked influence on the development of South African art”. (text by Emma Bedford) Date to diarise: Discussion on the highlights by Stephan Welz Saturday 22 May at 11am during the preview Accessible also on our website Enquiries: Stephan Welz and MJ Darroll, Tel. 011 728 8246
Maurice van Essche : Malay Woman with a Coffee Pot, R 400 000 – 600 000
Cecil Skotnes : African Head, (Detail) R 600 000 – 800 000
Alexis Preller : The Flower King, R 800 000 – 1 200 000
Edoardo Villa : Heraldic Figure, R 50 000 – 80 000
Maud Sumner : The Thames at Sunset, R3 00 000 – 500 000
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
SOUTH AFRICAN AUCTIONS
Stephan Welz & Company Autumn Decorative and Fine Arts Auction 1 -2 of June 2010 at the Old Mutual Centre, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town See more details at www.swelco.co.za
Maud Frances Eyston Sumner Still Life, R 375 000-450 000
Stanley Pinker: Limpopo Bathers, R 240 000-280 000
Stephan Welz & Company, will be holding their Autumn Decorative and Fine Arts Auction on the 1 and 2 of June 2010 at the Old Mutual Centre, Kirstenbosch Gardens. South African Masters as well as a strong showing of contemporary artists are available to the discerning collector. “The New Group is well represented with works from Freida Lock, Maud Sumner and Walter Battiss. A particularly attractive Robert Gwelo Goodman titled River Reflections, South Coast as well as two repatriated Boer war period Frans Oerder’s will vie for bidder’s attention,” says Ian Hunter, Head of Paintings in Cape Town. Auctioneer Phillippa Duncan’s attention has been captured by Stanley Pinker’s Procession, Freida Lock’s Hout Bay Valley (originally sold by the company in 1996 as part of the contents of Mostertdrift) and Walter Battiss’ Bathers, Tanzania. “All of these artist’s have come to the fore and have proven their worth with collectors in the rooms and on the phones at recent sales globally.”
Details: Viewing is free of charge and open to the public. Viewing: Friday 28 May : 10am - 4pm | Saturday 29 May : 10am - 3pm | Sunday 30 May : 10am - 5pm Auction: Tuesday 1 June 2010 : at 10am, 2pm & 7pm | Wednesday 2 June 2010 : at 10am Enquiries & Catalogues: Cape Town 1 & 2 June 2010 | Cape Town Office : 021 794 6461 At the Saleroom, Kirstenbosch : from Friday 28 May : Tel: 021 761 2663 / Fax: 021 761 9962 Contact : email@example.com www.swelco.co.za For enquiries please contact 021-761 4288.
Jacob Hendrik Pierneef: Meerlust, R 400 000-600 000
Freida Lock: Hout Bay Valley, R 600 000-800 000
Maggie (Maria Magdalena) Laubser: A rural landscape, R 400 000-600 000
Frans David Oerder: Transvaalsche landschap met ruiters, R 120 000-160 000
Pieter Hugo Naude : Table Mountain from Newlands,R 300 000-400 000
Penny (Penelope) Siopis: Studio setting, R 25 000-35 000
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BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
Chuck Close joins fray over Polaroid sale
Robins v Zwirner By Marisa Mazria Katz and Helen Stoilas, The Art Newspaper New York. The ongoing case between the Miami art collector, Craig Robins, and the New York dealer, David Zwirner, over an alleged breach of confidentiality has brought a third person into the fray. Jack Tilton, who represented the South African artist Marlene Dumas until 2008, was subpoenaed to appear in court yesterday (Tuesday 20 April) for a hearing on Robins’ motion for a preliminary injunction prohibiting Zwirner from selling any of three paintings by Dumas being shown at Zwirner’s gallery. Tilton has become embroiled in one of the more unusual cases to make it to a US court. Robins is suing Zwirner for $8m, after Zwirner told Dumas, whom he now represents, that he had sold her 1994 painting Reinhardt’s Daughter on Robins’ behalf. Robins filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on 29th March. As well the alleged breach of confidentiality, Robins alleges that the disclosure landed him on a “blacklist” by Dumas, precluding him from buying her works on the primary market. He also says that, to avoid a lawsuit in 2005 when he first found out about the blacklist, Zwirner promised him “first choice, after museums, to purchase one or more [primary market] Marlene Dumas works”. Tilton was called to give testimony supporting Robins’ claims that Zwirner had agreed to keep quiet about the sale, and his claims of the existence of a blacklist of collectors barred from having access to Dumas’ new work. According to court documents, Robins has been a major collector of the South African artist, owning 29 works, and was eager to acquire three paintings from her new exhibition at David Zwirner. He describes the artist’s latest body of work shown in “Against the Wall” (18 March-24 April) as “comparable to what the ‘Blue Period’ was to Picasso”, adding: “I could not have a complete...collection of her work without a top painting from [this show].” Zwirner is vigorously defending himself against the claim that he breached confidentiality and that he promised to give Robins special access to works by Dumas. In his court papers, filed last month, he states: “I did not enter into any confidentiality agreement, written or oral, with Mr Robins.” He says that the only written contract he had with Robins (dated 2 December 2004) does not contain a confidentiality clause. He also denies telling the artist—who he did not represent at the time—about the sale, in order to curry favour with her, as Robins alleges. He says he acted “in accordance with Dumas’ expectation of being informed of such sales and to inform her that the new owner would be willing to loan Reinhardt’s Daughter for important exhibitions.” He said that while it is “customary practice” for transactions to be kept confidential during negotiations, “by contrast, once an artwork is sold…the sale is no longer within the control of the seller.” Zwirner also says he did not offer Robins first pick from a future show: “I never promised or stated to Mr. Robins that I would sell him a painting…I did not represent Marlene Dumas at that time and could not possibly have made any promises in regards to her work.” Tilton was subpoenaed to appear in court by Robin’s lawyers, but said he was not testifying against his will. Answering questions posed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Aaron Richard Golub, Tilton said he was approached by Robins to sell the work by Dumas in 2004. “I went to David Zwirner and he had a ready buyer and we culminated a transaction.” Tilton told the court that he had told Zwirner that Robins wished to keep the sale a secret: “There was a discussion of price. There was a discussion of confidentiality because at that time Dumas was concerned about the reselling of her work. I said: ‘You can’t tell
the artist, you can’t tell anyone about this work.’ There was a point when Craig was worried that David would tell someone so I had to reconfirm with David that he wouldn’t tell anyone and he agreed.” This alleged breach of confidentiality is the central claim in the suit, and Tilton told the court that, “confidentiality is a key element [in gallery transactions]. Collectors don’t want their business known in general.” Golub asked if Tilton had any discussions with Marlene about blacklisting collectors in 2004. Tilton told the court that in 2004 he had several discussions with Marlene Dumas about “blacklisting” collectors. This was a “key topic”, he said, and that the artist and her studio manager, Jolie van Leeuwen “were upset that collectors were capitalising on her work”. He said a list of collectors that Dumas wanted barred from her work was circulated among galleries representing the artist, including his gallery, Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, Galerie Paul Andriesse in Amsterdam, Gallery Koyanagi in Tokyo, and Frith Street in London. Tilton told the court that the names on the list included collectors such as Richard Cooper, Daniel Holtz and dealers such as Marc Jancou. Tilton also testifed that Zwirner included Reinhardt’s Daughter in an exhibition at the former Zwirner & Wirth gallery, “Marlene Dumas: Selected Works” (18 February-23 April 2005). At this point, Van Leeuwen asked Tilton if Robins had owned this work at one time. Tilton said Van Leeuwen “was quite upset and almost screaming hysterically [on the telephone] that I hadn’t disclosed that Craig had owned the work” and that Dumas wanted to put Craig on a blacklist for reselling. Tilton then said he was present at a meeting with Robins and Zwirner at the end of 2004, when Zwirner offered to give first choice of Dumas’ work at a future show. “The museums would get first pick and then Craig,” Tilton told the court. After Robins’ lawyer had finished questioning, an attorney representing Zwirner took over. His questioning brought to light the fact that Tilton himself may have told Dumas that Robins once owned the work. According to the defence attorney, an email from Tilton to Dumas explained that Robins had sold the painting because he was involved in divorce proceedings. The defence also submitted documents to the court which he said confirmed the existence of a blacklist, notably a fax from Dumas’ studio referring to two types of lists (black and grey). The fax revealed the names of restricted buyers, alongside the names of those who had submitted to them the studio. It emerged that David Zwirner had been placed on the blacklist—by Jack Tilton. The defence asked why Tilton had been willing to name Zwirner but not Craig Robins. Tilton said: “Craig had bought [the painting] on resale and sold it on resale. It was really none of [Marlene & Jolie’s] business.” Tilton said the difference was that “Zwirner was selling lots of pieces by Dumas not just one. He was actively buying and selling.” At the end of the hearing, a tired Judge William Pauley III offered some real world perspective to the battling art figures, commenting on the length of Tilton’s testimony, which went on for almost two hours. “It’s been a long day and I have a murder trial going on,” the judge said as he ended the hearing. The parties are awaiting Judge Pauley’s decision on the motion. This article has been updated to remove Zeno X gallery owner Frank Demaegd’s name from the list of restricted collectors. Demaegd was allegedly asked to submit names but was not blacklisted himself.
Chuck Close joins fray over Polaroid sale Polaroid row hots up Artists including Chuck Close join campaign to stop sale By Charlotte Burns, The Art Newspaper LONDON. Chuck Close is lending his “absolute” support to a lastgasp campaign to stop the sale of works from the Polaroid Collection, which numbers around 16,000 works according to court papers filed in Minnesota in 2009. An auction of around 1,200 of these is scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s New York on 20 and 21 June. “These were not Polaroid’s works to sell,” said Close. “I gave my best work to the collection because it was made clear that it was going to stay together and be given to a museum.” He is one of 56 artists willing to be plaintiffs in the motion for a rehearing which campaigners hope to file to the same Minnesota bankruptcy court that awarded sales rights to Sotheby’s last year. Only five of the artists—and 203 images—would be affected by the June auction, said Sam Joyner, the former US magistrate judge leading the campaign. He added that he is trying to find pro-bono legal representation.
“According to the photographers, some of the works were placed in the collection with promises of no commercial use, and perpetual access to the image by the photographers,” said Joyner. He believes ownership is dependent on the language used by Polaroid in their original agreements with the artists. “We would like the court to [balance] what we were promised against the rights of the people who lost money when Polaroid went bust,” said Close.
Polaroid filed for bankruptcy twice in the past decade, most recently in connection with a £3.65bn Ponzi scheme at parent company Petters Group Worldwide. Private equity firm, Hilco Consumer Capital, and liquidator, Gordon Brothers Group, acquired the Polaroid name and assets—barring the collection which remained behind with the defunct Polaroid Corporation, renamed PBE, and is now in the hands of PBE’s liquidators. “Nothing would be worse than a piecemeal sale,” said William Ewing, director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, which holds a separate 4,500 works on loan. “I am hopeful that the entire collection, or at least our works, will be sold to a single buyer that will agree to leave them to the museum.” Supporters of the “Impossible Project”, a Netherlands-based company which last month produced a new analogue instant film for Polaroid cameras, “recently placed a binding offer to purchase” the works at Lausanne, according to Marlene Kelnreiter, press spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, Sotheby’s told us in February that the sale had been widely publicised since the auction house was given the rights to sell the works in August 2009, and: “A few claims from photographers not represented in [our] auction were made, and they were all rejected by the court. No claim has ever been made to any of the items in the upcoming auction.”
BUSINESSART | MAY 2010
TATE MODERN TURNS 10 Artists, critics and readers on 10 years of Tate ModernTo celebrate Tate Modern’s 10th birthday, we asked the art world – and our readers – to put their questions to its director, Nicholas Serota disgorges its interior. The Gerhard Richter paintings we acquired three years ago. But on reflection I would probably choose work by Oiticica. A fire at the estate where Oiticica’s work is kept destroyed an enormous amount of it. Little now exists in the world. Damien Hirst Artist All children paint and draw, but most of them stop as they get older. Why do you think that is?
Sir Nicholas Serota at Tate Modern. Photograph: Richard Saker By Kate Kellaway First Published in The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/apr/25/serota-tate-modern-tenth-birthday Next month, it will be 10 years since Tate Modern first opened its doors. Not only is it not showing its age, it is still, as you approach it across the Millennium bridge, a thrilling sight – the incredible hulk of it across the river, the sense that the building itself is, before you have even glanced at any of the art inside it, an event. Since it opened, 45 million people have visited and many of its exhibitions have been crowd-pullers: Matisse, Picasso, Hopper, Warhol, Dali, Rothko… It is also dedicated to showing challenging new work by less well known artists. And in its dramatic Turbine Hall, the sense is that anything could be given house room if it deserved it – from Louise Bourgeois’s towers (I Do, I Undo, I Redo, 2000; her tremendous steel spider had to wait outside) to Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project in 2003 or Rachel Whiteread’s Embankment (2005) – heaped white boxes, like sugar lumps for giants. The man behind – or rising above – all this, Nicholas Serota, has been in the job from the start. Tate Modern was his vision, and it still is, as he forges ahead with a £215m extension. Serota is often seen as a severe arbiter of artistic taste. And because he can look austere – especially when a camera is pointed at him – I had assumed a corresponding angularity of mind. What a pleasure to discover that I could not have been more mistaken. I found him charming from the word go. There was a question I was longing to ask him – before posing the questions from our readers and members of the art world – about his survival. What has kept him in his job – and at the top?
“Going into artists’ studios and seeing new work,” he replied without hesitation, “and realising it is as difficult to understand as it was 20 years ago. Artists are always challenging us to think again, to look again at the world and find new ways of discovering ourselves. Every time I go into a studio – and often when I go into a gallery – I find myself challenged and think: life is beginning all over again.” Serota’s warmth, acuity and dedication – not to mention the amused gleam in his eye – make it easy to understand exactly why he has more than prospered in his job. His passion for art is unmistakable in everything he says. When I asked about his own personal highlights over the last 10 years, he described the “incredible” first day – 12 May 2000 – that Tate Modern opened “after seven years of working, with so many people, to create this extraordinary institution. The Turbine Hall had been empty for months and to see people come down that ramp and take possession of the building – make it theirs rather than ours – was a great moment.” Later, he described his own nifty version of taking possession of the place. In 2006, Carsten Holler installed colossal silver slides – a playground for grownups. Serota recalls the press day: “The press had been in for about three minutes. “Are you going to be the first down?” they asked. I found myself obliged to go to the longest slide, -right at the top, and slide into a pen of press.” This, he insists, was “great fun”. But his most cherished memories are of making exhibitions: “Cy Twombly with Cy, the Donald Judd and Barnett Newman exhibitions. All these have been great shows to make and present at Tate Modern.”
In the hour that followed – in which Serota was grilled on every possible subject – I was struck by the care with which he answered each question and his visible interest in the different ways in which people think about art – and Tate Modern. He was curious, often amused but snever dismissive. There is so much to celebrate – and marvel at – as the Tate turns 10: “The astonishing thing to remember is that this is a part of London people didn’t visit 10 years ago. I remember, just before we opened, one of our trustees, who had always been sceptical about Tate Modern, saying: ‘But how are people going to find it?’” Ten years on, that is a joke question. WHAT THE ART WORLD ASKED SEROTA Amanda Sharp Co-director of Frieze What was the first piece of art that mattered to you? Turner’s Norham Castle, Sunrise. I was 14 years old. Chapman brothers Artists If Tate Modern were on fire, which work of art would you save?
l I could be flippant and say Jake and Dinos’s works aren’t on view at the moment, so I wouldn’t have the luxury of saving one of them. Oh God – duty would compel me to try and save Matisse’s The Snail. It is one of my favourite works, an incredible masterpiece. Or the Rothkos. So many things have become favourites in recent years – Rebecca Horn’s Concert for Anarchy – the upside-down piano that hangs and
Young people paint and draw to express their ideas and vision. The danger is that, as they get older, they feel the need to conform to other people’s conventions, so start to be more deliberate and representational in the way they work. Great artists fight that, whether it be a David Hockney or a Tracey Emin. They try to preserve an apparently childish vision, their innocence. Martin Creed Artist What were you into when you were 10? It wasn’t art. It was sailing. Mark Titchner Artist The past 10 years have seen an explosion of interest in contemporary art. Has art primarily become a form of entertainment? No, but I was looking at something the other day that reminded me that, in the mid-19th century, Charles Eastlake, director of the National Gallery, spoke to a parliamentary select committee about how he kept seeing people in the National Gallery having picnics. He found it extraordinary that they had come in for reasons other than looking at art. The same kinds of complaint are made about people at Tate Modern. But they are here. They are finding out about themselves, they are looking at art – maybe out of the corner of their eye – but they learn something and come back. And that is all that really matters. Bob and Roberta Smith Artist When you wake up in the morning, what is the painting or artwork in front of you in your bedroom? A small, early 20th-century Indian watercolour in a traditional form of miniature. It is two figures dancing. A great image to wake up to. Ben Bradshaw Secretary of state for culture, media and sport How important to Tate Modern’s success was it that government investment allowed it to be free for everyone from the day it opened its doors? Interestingly, the commitment to Tate Modern was made not by the Labour government but by a Conservative government, in 1995, when Virginia Bottomley supported the creation of Tate Modern. So Tate Modern has, in a sense, been a crossparty invention. Tate had always been free and we had maintained we wanted it to be free. It opened and then other institutions that had been charging were enabled by Chris Smith [former culture secretary] and government to remove the charges in 2001. There was never any question about charging admission at Tate Modern. But the government support we have had has been crucial to its success. Chris Smith, Tessa Jowell and others have been supportive. We have needed government revenue to sustain Tate Modern in spite of its success and they have been very helpful in that. Victoria Miro Gallerist, Victoria Miro Gallery Tate Modern has made huge progress in building the collection, most recently in securing important gifts, such as Anthony d’Offay’s Artist Rooms. What is your focus for the collection over the coming decade? Not only do we have to concentrate on buying art of the last 10 or 15 years, we also have to recognise that we want to buy not just in northwest Europe and North America. In the past 10 years, we have been trying to represent Latin American art seriously. We have recently formed a group that will help us buy art from the Middle East and north Africa. The world has changed so dramatically in the last 15 years – not least because of information exchange and the fact that artists move across the world so much more easily than they ever did. Eastern Europe is an area we didn’t look at in the 60s and 70s – we are trying to catch up. But we won’t neglect British artists – or artists from western Europe. The other area in which we are making a big effort is photography. There is a great collection of 19th-century photography at the V&A. But the 20th-century representation of photography in the national collections is not as strong as it should be. We have recently acquired a photography curator, Simon Baker, and I hope in the next five years we will make real strides in building a strong collection of photography. Nicholas Logsdail Gallerist, Lisson Gallery What will you be asking the next government to do to ensure the continued success and development of visual arts and culture in the UK? I would like them to put more value into art education. Art schools have suffered in recent years. It would also help if the government were prepared to put more money into the collecting of contemporary art by regional galleries so people had the opportunity to have regular encounters with contemporary art in the way they are able to at Tate Modern. It is striking that until about the 1960s and 70s, most regional galleries and museums were collecting contemporary art in a serious way. In the past 30 years, it has been difficult for them to do so. That has been the purpose of Tate Modern’s Artist Rooms. Anthony D’Offay’s great vision, in giving these works of art, has made it possible for people to encounter Warhol or Beuys or Jeff Koons or Jannis Kounellis in a gallery within 50 miles of where they live.
Christopher Frayling Writer and former chair, Arts Council Do you wish your distant predecessors at the Tate had been more adventurous and imaginative in their acquisitions of modern paintings and sculptures for the permanent collection at a time when art was much more affordable? The lesson is that we have to focus on buying the art of today rather than on the art of the past. We can never catch up. Of course I regret that the gallery is not filled with Picassos, Matisses and great Braques and Legers from the early part of the 20th century. But the success of Tate Modern has been that we are able to take advantage of the fact that the collection is strong in the last 20 or 30 years and can use that as a starting point from which to look back rather than regarding the past as the great pinnacle from which one descends down the slopes into the present. Sadie Coles Gallerist, Sadie Coles HQ The acquisition budgets of Tate and other UK museums cannot keep up with the contemporary art market. When an artist is emerging and the museum could afford their work, it is too early to commit, and when they are established, the work is priced out of reach. So huge gaps appear in the collection. Is there any chance of having a similar system to the US, where there is a partial tax benefit to the donor of art? It is an anomaly that you can get a tax benefit if your estate gives a work of art to a national museum when you die, but you cannot get a tax benefit during your lifetime. It would make a big difference to donations of works of art to museums by collectors if there were such a tax benefit. We have been campaigning for it and – every now and again – it seems as though we are going to get there. I hope, with a new administration coming in, to renew the argument. Matthew Stone Artist Does art change the world? It changes the way we understand the world. That is what artists do. It can’t change political and social and economic circumstances. AND WHAT OUR READERS WANTED TO KNOW Mary Desmond Painter, Rome, Italy For the average punter it is sometimes difficult, with the sophisticated machines of spin at work, to separate an artist’s worth from the hype. What two or three artists whom you have met have most impressed you? I remember doing an exhibition with Joseph Beuys in 1974 – an artist around whom there was a lot of myth and hype. I am privileged in having the opportunity to spend time with artists and engage with them. And the hype just falls away. The job of the curatorial team here, among other things, is to look at those artists who aren’t in the spotlight and try to bring forward their work. Either the work speaks to you or it doesn’t. Hype is about something else. Sometimes hype gets in the way of looking and you can be discouraged. You have to see your way through it. Henry Iddon Photographer, Cleveleys, Lancashire Should Tate Modern only show work by established figures? Is there any effort to look “under the radar” and seek out innovative work produced by those unable to connect with the big money global art scene? It depends how far below the radar. We would argue Tate takes more risks than equivalent organisations in Europe and America in terms of acquisition and showing work by younger, less established artists. But we are also there to give our public an opportunity to see Warhol or Twombly. We have to do both. Nonito Rosello Freelance writer/PR, London 1) If you were a work of art, which one would you be and why? I would be one of the dancers in Picasso’s Three Dancers. It would be great. It is an amazing painting – full of mystery and surprise. It is a little bit threatening too. 2) And if you could invite three people to dinner (no matter which era or whether dead or alive) who would they be?
One would be Van Dyke. I would love to have met him because he was such an incredible, swashbuckling character. He would have made a pretty lively dinner companion, I think. And Turner would be quite good. And Louise Bourgeois. A strange combination. But Louise would be – is – an extraordinary dinner companion. And she would make her way [with the other two]. Glen Tarman Charity manager, Wapping, London In a time of climate change, will you stop sponsorship by oil companies so we can visit Tate and enjoy great art without being complicit in climate chaos? The first thing to say is we have support from BP, which as a company is looking at renewable energy as well as using up fossil fuels and using oil. We have long had support from them and are not intending to abandon it. But we are committed to addressing issues posed by climate change. Tate has made some big strides in terms of carbon reduction and bringing that to the attention of other people in the world.
Without Masks at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) will show new explorations in Contemporary Afro-Cuban work, based on the artists’ so-called African heritage. The exhibition is curated by renowned Cuban curator, Orlando Hernández. Participating artists include: Belkis Ayon Manso, Ricardo Rodriguez Olazabal, Rene Pena, Marta Maria Perez Bravo, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons,
King George St, between Wolmarans & Noord St, Joubert Park, Johannesburg | Secure parking is available T: +27 (0)11 725 3130/80 | F: +27 (0)11 720 6000
23 MAY – 29 AUG 2010
Carlos Caraicoa Manso and Yoan Capote.
EXHIBITION HALLS 1 – 7
IMAGE: Juan Carlos Alom Sin Palabras (Without words), 2008.
OPEN TUE – SUN 10AM – 5PM
short-term delays on artworks being returned was “considerable”, an Academy spokeswoman said that “the adaptation and flexibility of everyon...