ART TIMES THE SOUTH AFRICAN
March 2009 • 7 000 copies printed and distributed. Full version also available at www.arttimes.co.za • RSA value R 40.00
Risky Parking: Avant Car Guard’s new show at Whatiftheworld / Gallery ACG: AVANT CAR GUARD waiting for Mandela to die and the nu-rave party experience to hit Johannesburg.
Image courtesy the Artists and Whatiftheworld / Gallery. Avant Car Guard with be exhibiting: Volume III at Whatiftheworld / Gallery 26 March - 25 April 09
IRMA STERN (1894-1966) SOUTH AFRICA’S GRANDE DAME
SOLD IN 2007
SOLD IN 1999
Stephan Welz and Company, in association with Sotheby’s, has a proven reputation as South Africa’s Premier Auction House. Established in 1968, we have consistently improved upon our own history and sales records. Record results for South African Masters like Irma Stern have been the milestones by which we judge our success, just as Stern used her paintings from which to gain strength.
Johannesburg Upcoming Sale 20 & 21 April 2009
Cape Town Upcoming Sale 26 & 27 May 2009
Viewing: 17-19 April 2009 Call for further details: 011 880 3125
Closing date for entries: Friday 13 March 2009 Call now for an appointment: 021 794 6461
Venue: 13 Biermann Avenue Rosebank
Venue: The Great Cellar, Alphen Hotel, Alphen Hotel, Constantia
Irma Stern STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT AND DAHLIAS SOLD 1999 R 1 100 000 Irma Stern THE INDIAN WOMAN SOLD 2007 R 7 260 000
Visit our website www.swelco.co.za
Hyme Rabinowitz’s passion for pottery South African Art Times.
1920 - 2009
Steve Kretzmann To give up a potentially lucrative career as an accountant in order to follow a more precarious path of pottery is evidence not only of a passion for potting, but also of a willingness to defy convention in search of a fuller life. It was a choice acclaimed ceramicist Hyme Rabinowitz made in his thirties, subsequently leaving us with innumerable beautiful and functional clay vessels. And he certainly lived a life full of adventure and accomplishment. Born in 1920, twin to brother Sol – who later settled in Kenya - he was nineteen years-old at the outbreak of World War II. His age, and being Jewish, meant there was little moral choice but to interrupt his articles and join the fight against Hitler. Judging from the character that emerges from his memoirs, Hyme would have undoubtably been drawn to travel and an outdoor life of some sort, but three years in an anti-aircraft battalion trekking through East and North Africa (whereafter he fell ill, serving the rest of the war in the Saldahna region nearer home) likely whetted his appetite to experience more of the world. He completed his articles after the war, but office life was not his preference, and, in a post-war decade marked by conservatism, he hitchhiked across the UK, Europe and the Middle East – starting his self-education in the arts along the way – and returned home overland across Africa 17 months later. It was while making a living working at the Plate Glass Company that he “quite by chance” discovered his vocation. As often happens, there was an attractive girl involved, who was taking pottery lessons at the Frank Joubert art centre. Hyme joined in, and was given his first lessons by Audrey Frank. “The penny had dropped,” wrote Hyme. He had a continental style kick-wheel built and took over a corner of Paul Boonzaier’s sign writing workshop on Long Street. “Every Saturday afternoon after the office I went and practiced my throwing in Paul’s workshop till it was time to catch the last bus (around midnight) from the terminus to Camps Bay. Then I’d hike (with backpack) to Llandudno, land up at (a rough hut in the bay), and hike the next day with “Ginger” (Townley) Johnson to Sandy Bay and Oudeschip.” His friendship with Ginger and a love of the outdoors led to the pair
of them, with Percy Sieff, amongst others, documenting over 500 rock art sites in the South-West Cape in the ’50s and ‘60s, a book of which was later published. Around this period he returned to the UK and spent time working at St. Ives with Kenneth Quick, who used to work at the famed Leach Pottery. He also worked with the “explosive” master potter Michael Cardew. He spent more time with Cardew in Abudja, Nigeria, who was running a training centre there, and also spent six months working with Esias Bosch in White River. He set up what was to become his permanent pottery studio at Eagles Nest in Constantia in 1962 (thanks to the patronage of the Maggs family) originally working with a Cardew-Wenford Bridge wood-fired kiln for many years before changing to an oil-fired kiln. He did a lot more travelling though, much of it through Africa, studying the continent’s ancient pottery traditions, before marrying Jennifer Rom when he was 56. Although a late starter in pottery, according to Leach, Hyme’s dedication to the craft resulted in his being awarded a National Silver Medal by Pretoria University in 1990, a Master of Fine Arts Honorary degree from the University of Cape Town and the ‘Master Potter’ title by the Association of Potters of South Africa (APSA) on his 80th birthday. Yet his success never went to his head. “He’s always been a great supporter of other potters. People at the top of their field are often snooty, but he always had time, and a word of encouragement, for everyone, says young potter John Bauer. Although Hyme suffered from ill health again in his later years, having, according to Ceramics SA Cape region co-chair and “dear friend” Betsy Nield, “a few heart attacks in his time”, it appears he was more concerned with the wellbeing of his friends than his own discomfort. Nield said he had his last heart attack a year ago, at around the same time she had to undergo an operation. She said whenever they spoke he used to enquire after her health, never mentioning his own problems. She said Hyme was also very active in the pottery community. “He used to come to all our (Ceramics SA) workshops and was always at our AGMs and exhibitions. He would be there, and at all the potters markets. At the last one, in June, Jenni had to push him around in his wheelchair.”
Tributes at his funeral repeatedly mentioned his warmth, humour, creativity, purpose, and interest in
other people. And he seemed to be able to mix modesty and pride quite effectively. His son, Nikolas,
said his dad’s response to being famous was:
Artists’ Acrylic Paint UC
LI T UA Y
“Well, I was the best, and most famous potter… on Eagles Nest!”
South African Art Times.
Laubscher sets record auction price for SA living artist
The South African
Steve Kretzmann The price paid for an artwork by Erik Laubscher which went up on auction at the summer decorative and fine arts auction in Kirstenbosch on February 24, has set a new South African record for a living artist. Laubscher’s painting from the 1950’s, ‘Still Life with Mandolin, Music Score and Fruit’, sold for R1.14 million, five times the pre-sale estimate posted in the catalogue by Stephan Welz & Co. in association with Sotheby’s. Up until recently, work by Laubscher, who is a master of virtually all genres of the abstract, has sold in the region of R50 000
March 2009 www.arttimes.co.za Published monthly by
Global Art Information PO Box 15881 Vlaeberg, 8018 Tel. 021 424 7733 Fax. 021 424 7732 Editor: Gabriel Clark-Brown email@example.com Advertising: Eugene Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: Bastienne Klein email@example.com News: firstname.lastname@example.org Shows: email@example.com Artwork: firstname.lastname@example.org Layout: cybersweat.
Deadline for news, articles and advertising is the 20th of each month. The Art Times is published in the last week of each month. Newspaper rights: The newspaper reserves the right to reject any material that could be found offensive by its readers. Opinions and views expressed in the SA Art Times do not necessarily represent the official viewpoint of the editor, staff or publisher, while inclusion of advertising features does not imply the newspaper’s endorsement of any business, product or service. Copyright of the enclosed material in this publication is reserved.
Cover: ACG: AVANT CAR GUARD waiting for Mandela to die and the nu-rave party experience to hit Johannesburg. Avant Car Guard with be exhibiting: Volume III at Whatiftheworld / Gallery 26 March 09
advert tropics-260x80.indd 1
Art Times regular contributor Mary Corrigall receives top English award
– R70 000. 82-year-old Laubscher, who lives in Cape Town and continues to paint, said he was eating his “humble breakfast, barefoot, wearing old shorts”, when he was given the news. “I am dazed,” he said. He said he could not imagine the “incredible honour or the impact” the sale would have on works he has kept for almost 60 years. But he said he was being “quite cool” about it and “not shouting yippee! You’ve got to wait for the next one (sale).” It just makes drawing up my will a lot more complicated.” Erik Laubscher’s “Still Life with Mandolin, Music Score and Fruit” selling for R1 120 000
Art Bank Joburg faces challenges
The English Academy of Southern Africa announced this month that Mary Corrigall, the senior feature writer and art critic at The Sunday Independent and regular contributor to the South African Art Times, has won the Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews.
Corrigall was awarded for the high quality of her art review writng. Commenting on her win the adjudicators noted that: “In her writing she is never dismissive, but strives to understand the ‘why’ of an event, art form or cultural display, often penetrating to a layer of intelligibility that would escape a more superficial or judgmental tack. She is reliably perceptive, sensitively responsive, an ‘embedded’ journalist of a particular kind, willing to immerse herself in the experience at hand.” Corrigall will be presented with her award on 21 March 2009 on the occasion of the English Academy Percy Baneshik Memorial Lecture.
Halfway through the initial fiveyear period in which it was hoping to break even, the Jo’burg Metro’s struggling pioneer art bank is to adopt a new business plan and move to a new location. The Canadian art bank on which Art Bank Joburg is modeled took nine years to break even, and CEO Antoinette Murdoch admitted recently that this sort of time horizon is probably more realistic. The Joburg Metro Council invested R5m in Art Bank Joburg, of which R3.1m has been spent on art works. According to Joburg cultural supremo Steven Sack, a council report, which has not yet been publicly released, estimates that another R4.5m is needed to make the body self-sufficient. So far, the art bank has acquired 30 clients, of which 60% are public-sector (mostly municipal) and the balance private-sector. It owns 1 090 art works by 290 individual artists with a total value
of R3.1m. The average value of R2 830 reflects the bank’s remit to encourage developing artists, and Sack points out that the maximum price the bank may pay for a work is R15 000. They are hired out at 20% of market value, and revalued every year, so this income should rise gradually, but clearly not at a rate which will make the venture economic in the foreseeable future. Sack in fact would like to spend another R7m on art, taking the stock to R10m, which should make the art bank profitable but, he admits, will take several years. He concedes that current tight economic conditions are unpropitious for raising funds from the corporate sector, but has several creative ideas for getting around this. For example, a client may be prepared to buy art, donate it to the bank and display it in its own premises, but only start to pay “rent” some years later. He reminded me that the arts White Paper recommended that the Department of Arts & Culture set
up a national art bank. It hasn’t done so (which will come as no surprise to cultural workers), which could make it possible for Art Bank Joburg to take over this role. It’s also possible that the Metro Council could be persuaded to supplement its original investment. And, finally, when it can produce three years’ audited accounts – which shouldn’t be that far away -- the art bank could apply for national lottery money. But the art bank is not sitting idly waiting for manna from heaven. As well as developing its existing activities, it’s co-ordinating the commissioning of a large tribute to Walter and Albertina Sisulu that the Metro Council plans to erect in Loveday St in Braamfontein. This will be a major piece of public sculpture, for which there’s a budget for labour and materials of up to R600 000 – though not all of this has yet been raised. The target date for completion is June this year, though this could be optimistic as it will require a tight time scale and such projects trend
to lag behind schedule. The bank, which announced last year that it was to move from Newtown to the old premises of the Sandton Civic Gallery, is now to relocate to Spark, the old electricity sub-station in Norwood which has seen sporadic success as an art gallery and craft centre but has never really fulfilled the potential held out by its attractive space. So it’s clear that the institution faces major challenges. If the new business plan doesn’t bring it closer to break-even fairly soon, one must wonder for how long the Metro Council – which doesn’t attach a high priority to the visual arts, judging by how the Joburg Art Gallery is starved of resources – will be prepared to carry it. And there’s one last wild card in the pack. Murdoch is widely tipped as a front-runner to succeed Clive Kellner as curator of JAG. Should this happen, for all Sack’s commitment to the art bank, another unwelcome element of uncertainty would enter the equation.
lll#^o^`d#dg\#oVlll#\dZi]Z#YZ$_d]VccZhWjg\ i/%'&)+,)+,(Z/cYVZ]c`Z5^o^`d#dg\#oV i/%&&))'('('Z/eg5_d]VccZhWjg\#\dZi]Z#dg\
KULTURSTIFTUNG DES BUNDES
2/23/09 4:22:23 PM
South African Art Times.
JOHANS BORMAN FINE ART GALLERY
Robin Rhode turns BMW into a paintbrush
Renowned for interacting with twodimensional drawings to create his own unique brand of ‘performance art’, South Africa’s answer to Banksy, Robin Rhode, is now painting with cars. Expensive cars. Like the new BMW Z series. While BMW has been producing an art car collection for over three decades, Rhode has not painted on the car. Rather, he installed hose pipes filled with paint which, via remote control, spray paint onto the tyres. By driving the car along a carefully choreographed route on a 100m by 200m canvas, he has transformed the vehicle into a paintbrush to create a massive abstract work, titled ‘Expression of Joy’. Created in a once-off 12 hour marathon of ‘painting’, the process was filmed by Jake Scott in Los Angeles’ Downey Studios. The
work, along with the film, is to be displayed in New York’s Vanderbilt Hall from March 25 to April 8. 33-year-old Rhode, who is now based in Berlin, is quoted on the BMW website as saying: “This work is an expression of painting in action - my hope is to communicate the power and thrill inherent in the creation of art…the use of an untraditional paintbrush like a high performance car is a great way to investigate the relationship between emotion, technology and industrial creativity.” In collaborating with BMW, Rhode joins a long list of famous artists, including Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein. The film clip can be viewed on the web at http://www.bmw.com/com/_ shortcuts/joy/index_en.html for more images see: http://www.terato.com/cars/content/view/1375/47/
Irma Stern, ‘Still life with flowers and basket’ - 1944
A showcase for the best of South African Masters, as well as some leading contemporary artists. Telephone: 021 423 6075 www.johansborman.co.za Mon-Fri: 10h00 - 18h00 Sat: 09h00 - 14h00 or by appointment In Fin Art Building Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town 8001 Cell: 082 566 4631 E-mail: email@example.com
South African Art Times.
Cashing in on Kebble’s treasure trove In early 2003 Kebble engaged gallerist and investment art dealer Graham Brits as his primary art dealer after a series of fall-outs with his previous dealers. Brits took responsibility for valuing and cataloguing Kebble’s collection, as well as trading lesser works out of the collection to make way for more valuable acquisitions.
Anthea Buys First published in The Mail and Guardian, February 2009 Late mining magnate Brett Kebble was considered South Africa’s foremost patron of the arts -- and now, with the sale of his private art collection on May 7, aficionados have a chance to find out just what kind of collector he was. Although Kebble sponsored his own annual art award from 2003 to 2005-- the most lucrative in its time -- he was not considered particularly erudite on the subject of contemporary art. But the nature of his art collection, soon to be under the hammer, may contradict that.
According to Brits Kebble’s personal taste steered the character of the collection. Although some were critical, Brits says: “Brett was a visionary. He had a love for art, a love for the good things in life. You find a lot of wealthy people in the world but not all of them are collectors of art. Brett was more refined. He had already positioned himself on a number of valuable Sterns and Laubsers when I started to work with him.” Brits estimates that Kebble’s effects will fetch up to R100-million. The 142 works on the auction inventory are predominantly important South African paintings from the first half of the 20th century, all acquired after 2001 when Kebble was declared technically insolvent. The impressive collection boasts 13 works by Irma Stern, 10 Alexis Prellers, 12 Maggie Laubsers and
valuable works by other prominent artists including JH Pierneef, Walter Battiss, Thomas Bowler and Vladimir Tretchikoff. Three contemporary works, two of William Kentridge’s early charcoal drawings and a steel sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli, have also made it on to the roll. One solitary George Pemba painting, The Gathering of the Elders, stands out on the list as the meagre representation of black artists in Kebble’s collection. Indeed, his personal collection was widely criticised at the time of the inception of the Brett Kebble Art Award -- supposedly a catalyst for racial transformation in the visual arts industry -- as racially exclusive. Despite its controversial provenance the Kebble auction, Brits says, will be one of the largest sales from an individual collection in South African art history. The gains from the sale of the 142 works will go towards paying off Kebble’s numerous creditors. The remainder of his personal collection -- all works purchased before the year 2000 -- Kebble safeguarded before his death as gifts to his wife and children. Brits expects more than 2 000 visitors at the pre-sale viewing at
Grahams Fine Art Gallery from April 16 to 30 and is optimistic about the prices works are likely to fetch despite hard economic times. “We are dealing in an economic downturn and what spare cash people have will affect the success of the sale. Had the sale been done last year we could have raised well over R100-million. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but it should raise close to R100-million, even in this climate. There’s a lot of intrigue and curiosity about the sale -- and there’s a lot of good work,” he says. “What makes this auction unusual is here we have major works coming up for sale with no strategic timing. Brett had a lot of creditors, so the sale has to happen now. It’s an opportunity for people to position themselves on top quality works at fair value.” Ian Hunter, a specialist in painting at Sotheby’s, could not comment specifically on whether or not Brits’s R100-million estimate is plausible given the quality of the works in the collection and the present economic climate. But Hunter says: “The bill of fare reads beautifully as a who’s who of the South African masters ... [Kebble] obviously had the money and the eye for an investment needed to build a very strong collection.” A new Gallery Listings space awaits you in The SA Art Times Once off: R 600 vat incl. 6 Months contract: R 3000 vat incl. Get a big impact in the SA art market At 55 x 126 mm your advertising space is by far the largest and most reasonable priced advertising space in the leading and most widely distributed South African art newspaper
Shop 46, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Cedar & Valley Roads,Broadacres, Fourways. +27 11 465 9192 Graham Britz +27 83 605 5000 Megan Kidd +27 84 726 2727 Laurelle Baard +27 79 266 1686 &DSH7RZQ2I¿FH Sarah Sinisi +27 84 568 5639
Please contact Eugene at 021 424 7732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
mes SA MARCH09.indd 1
2009/03/02 04:44:58 PM
Custom Stretched Canvasses Hand made Easels Painting & print stretching Free delivery within Cape area
Tel: 021 448 2799 Fax: 021 448 2797 email@example.com www.artstuff.co.za
Artist: Ann Gadd
ArtStuff now available on the Garden Route Call Paul Tunmer 083 2610084
UCT IRMA STERN MUSEUM Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town Tel: 021-685 5686
A solo exhibition by MICHAEL WYETH New Photographs
design � books and catalogues � large format graphics � archiving � installations � specialised retouching � exhibition displays � digital scanning
w w w. s c a n s h o p . c o . z a
31 March - 18 April Photograph: Untitled. 2008, pigment print on photo cotton rag paper. Paper size: 855 x 1120 mm, image size: 960 x 640 mm
South African Art Times.
Gideon Mendel: from Lusikisiki series
New work by Judy Woodbourne to be shown at the Cape Gallery together with ceramics by Wiebke von Bismarck Sunday 15th March 2009 – 4th April 2009. For more information see www.capegallery.co.za
Still III From performance series Norman O’Flynn changes the World: showing at the Erdmann Contemporary Photo: David Bloomer
Staking a worthy claim for performance art: Spier’s ‘Infecting the City’ takes off
Melvyn Minnaar Mumblings about using the image of a burning man as emblem for the second, seven-day Spier Performance Festival last month called it ‘gross’ and ‘arrogant’. Of course, Ernesto Nhamuave’s xenophobiacharged death - from whence the image derive (it also refers to the alternative American festival) - is deeply tragic, but such complaints suggest that a performance festival is all play-play, that life and death is only Shakespeare. But these things can hit hard. Many of us who stood next to the fountain in Adderley street on that first Satur day when Exile was performed, were deeply moved. When the burning
an international centre for performance art? On the logistical side, the team gets good marks and the co-operation with city and other officials seems to have been fine tuned. That too is good for more of the same. How and what Capetonians - those mostly unsuspecting of what they would encounter on the pavement, city square or next to the iconic fountain - think about it or have reacted may be worth some research.
Photo: Sean Wilson man was lit, the waters crossed, washing replaced by sjamboks, danger and sadness engulfed us. Tears mixed with water, prayers floated up. This was fearless street theatre in Africa, in Cape Town. The point about performance or street art is exactly that it intervenes where it’s not expected, that it challenges thought at awkward moments. Naturally, it can be as beautiful as ballet, as dark as tragedy, as absurdly theatre, and as South African as politics. Not all of the Cape Town events, neatly or oddly packaged, took flight in this week. One supposes that that too is in the nature of the unanticipation of the genre - one which, more
or less invented in the 1970s when the field between all the arts became so happily blurred. Right now, in our post-post modern era, it is surging internationally. (Not that any of pushy art events like Documenta ever went without.) Spier’s Africa Centre (which, thankfully, seems to have abandoned that dreadful amphitheatre which is part of the disneyficated Stellenbosch wine estate) can be quite pleased the way it turned out. Importantly, the collaborative efforts - of which three involved various and diverse artistic talent from different countries and produced excellent pieces, in fact, the highlights - will give momentum to future development and similar ventures. Could Cape Town became
What matters is that many ad hoc opinions by casual passers-by at, say, the Adderley street fountain and the trapeze outfit on Riebeek square were prompted. These two places, hosted two diverse performances which demonstrated the scope of the art, but it also suggested that South African artists have some real, original excitement to offer. The French company Retouramont’s Tuning into the Void had three blackdressed performers hanging around in the air, moving to some invisible choreography and dreary music. One passer-by suggested a shot on the bum might liven up matters, while a more laid-back academic suggested this was typical of bleek European art indulgence. Down at the fountain, on that first Saturday, Exile - brilliantly conceived by Alfred Hinkel from Jazzart, Michael Lister of the Avanti Display theatre in the UK, Zambian performer Mary Manzole, Penelope Youngleson and a host of agile performers and singers who whipped
and rode the waters - had everyone talking. A very vocal bergie shopping trolley couple was ready to join in, while an ecumenical crowd got themselves deliciously wet as part of the ritual and went home thinking about their neighbours. A ritual of a more absurd and camp kind formed the basis of Amakwerekwere, another international collaboration. The attics of rising star Athi-Patra Ruga and a fabulous team of human penguins guaranteed broad attention. Take that, you old Thibault square! Limbo on Church square, a potent piece that cut to the heart of the us/them theme of the festival and the dread of xenophobia, activated the stately atmospheric environment superbly. But the usual clever iconoclastic Peter van Heerden’s An Histrionic didn’t quite come off at the Castle. The parody promised simply felt silly. Most of the other offerings were pretty regular, if interesting pieces (such as Incwaba lendoda lise cankwe ndlela) in ‘fixed’, traditional venues. Personal indulgence, a space and place for some wanking, is also part and parcel of this kind of stuff. The most ‘conceptual’ piece in a way, was Call Cutta in a Box, which comprised an ‘intercontinental phone play’. And there were quite some takers. Which means that Capetonians are quite up for and to the challenges of performance art. How much infecting it did, well, that’s tricky. But that it did, that’s for sure.
The South African Art Times 2008 Bound edition. A dream present for all art lovers. Available from Art Times at 021 424 7733 at R 299 incl.pack & post.
Are you a gallery, get 6 free copies of The SA Art Times fo a price of a R 180 subscription. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
South African Art Times.
AVANT CAR GUARD and the Gay Black Jewish Artist’
AVANT CAR GUARD infiltrate The House of Art
AVANT CAR GUARD dive into the South African Contemporary Art Market’
The return of the art world jesters
Avant Car Guard are putting up a new exhibition. Mary Corrigall meets with
The Avant Car Guard (ACG) collective are not ideal candidates for an interview. For starters Zander Blom, Michael McGarry and Jan-Henri Booyens, the trio that constitute this irreverent group, are on a quest to undermine and interrogate the mechanics that drive the art world and interviewing is, after all, part of the machinery that elevates the artist, promulgating the status of the artist-genius. But it’s not just that ACG eschew the artist-genius tag and culture but they have already satirised the ubiquitous press interview in their work – long before they found themselves at the centre
of attention. Titled Avant Car Guard at Home 1996 the trio are photographed seated at a table in front of microphones. Of course, a number of elements disrupt this mise-en-scène; the suburban garden in the background and the date in the title; in 1996 the trio were presumably still students. It’s not that they foretold their future but rather were representing the typical artist-genius narrative in which the artist is cast as a genius in retrospect. Our interview will no doubt cement their status too but it plays out under different conditions. Held up in Pretoria Booyens is absent and taking
place at an outdoor café in Joburg it doesn’t resemble the constructed or artificial process their art work references. Blom and McGarry are here to promote ACG’s up and coming solo at Whatiftheworld gallery in Cape Town but they also seem to relish the opportunity to expand on ACG’s ethos, which they say is so often adumbrated by the unruly nature of their art. “We have kind of wanted to resist becoming the art world’s entertainment. We are always referred to as quirky, rabble-rousers; very few people engage with what we are saying,” notes McGarry.
The art of ACG has been compelled by a number of different ideas since they launched Volume I at Bell Roberts in December 2006. Though they found notoriety quickly with their derisive attacks on the South African art world, a period Blom terms their “bitchy phase”, their initial impetus was driven by a desire to destabilise notions of authorship. It wasn’t just a clichéd postmodern/Foucaultian compulsion; they genuinely couldn’t see themselves following the archetypal artist career path that would involve producing serious solo exhibitions every two years.
“You kind of feel like you are being cheated when you get caught in that cycle. There is no space to have fun. You make a whole bunch of shit and then you have product, it gets shown and then you make more shit. There is little fun in that,” observes Blom. Experimenting in the context of a residency didn’t appeal to the trio either. “That form of art making is also really lame because it doesn’t really deliver anything. Even in a residency where you put a whole lot of people together, you will find that everyone still want to put their own stamp on what you produce.
It is cool to develop one thing,” asserts Blom. ACG is like the product of an advertising or brand campaign, in which a team of people develop a powerful identity that is distinct from their own, they suggest. “There is a branding and a concept that we work towards it’s an independent thing,” says Blom. Nevertheless Blom and McGarry are quick to assert that while ACG’s identity is independent of them, its essence is tied to them; in other words if one of them had to leave the collective, ACG would cease to exist.
South African Art Times.
the irreverent group and discovers that they prize freedom over convention
Being part of ACG has freed them from the conventions that their individual expression is unable to afford them. “We can say stuff with Avant Car Guard that we can’t and don’t necessarily want to say with our town stuff and because there are three of us the blame or the authorship is diluted. It’s also a bit lame to do that stuff by yourself,” e says McGarry. Working as a collective has had an impact not only on ACG’s aesthetic but their process too. “It is a fast way of working; an idea happens quickly or goes
away quickly, whereas if you are working by yourself you get stuck. You learn not to be precious. And you learn to take the piss out of yourself,” observes Blom. The immediacy of their conceptual process obviously made photography an automatic choice as their primary mode of expression. Using a timer they take all their own pictures. “It makes it more difficult but it makes our art more peformative in a way,” suggests McGarry. “We prefer it to do it ourselves because we have grown used to being comfortable with just the three of us, the space between sit-
ting and running has also created an effect,” proposes Blom. Volume III, the title of their up-andcoming Whatiftheworld exhibition, will see the trio expand their distinctive idiom into the realm of painting. “With the photographs we were always acting out some scenario, we would mimic an idea. In the painting we are not mimicking some situation we are working directly (with the subject),” says Blom. “The process is totally different; we are perhaps acting out what a normal artist does,” comments McGarry He also suggests that painting has
developed the ACG aesthetic into a less figurative and one dimensional form of expression. “Volume II was very much like looking at the art world and doing one liner cell based cartoon things that are activated by the title. We only directly attacked anyone with the “Berni Seal” (in reference to Berni Searle) photograph, but this show is very much about attacking the icons, its bigger and more fun. Not as one dimensional, the paintings are more lyrical and abstract,” says McGarry. Despite their overt attempts at challenging the art world they have no desire to transform it; Blom and
McGarry say they derive pleasure simply from creating satirical work. “In a micro way in terms of how we are read as individuals or what young contemporary practice is, I think that we have changed the way we see it. If we did our solo work without Avant Car Guard it would be death,” observes McGarry. Nevertheless, they don’t deny they have had an impact. “It is difficult to imagine the art world without us,” says McGarry. But it’s not a comment born from arrogance; he suggests that “anybody could have been us we ended up being us, it’s healthy and
it’s a sign that the hegemony that was around has relaxed. There are a lot more younger galleries and that power dynamic that was in place is no longer there anymore and you can shit on big names and nothing really happens anymore.”
• Volume III opens at Whatiftheworld Gallery in Cape Town on March 26
in•fin•arT Custom Picture Framers & Art Gallery
3HOWING A SERIES OF RECENT PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES CAPTURED IN THE 7ESTERN #APE BY -ICHEL LE 3UEUR -ONDAY -ARCH TILL 3ATURDAY !PRIL 3T 'EORGES 3TREET 3IMONS 4OWN 4EL &AX
Wolfe Street • Chelsea • Wynberg • Tel: 021 761 2816 + Buitengracht Street • Cape Town • Tel: 021 423 2090 E-mail: email@example.com • web www.infinart.co.za
kunsgalery I geskenke
’n Kreatiewe fees virrie oog MOOOI bied ’n eklektiese versameling van skilderye en beeldhouwerke deur uiteenlopende kunstenaars vir KKNK 2009: DAVID KUIJERS, JOOST PYCK, WIM RHEEDER, DAVID RIDING, NIKKI SWANEPOEL, HANLIE VAN HEERDEN & SPIES VENTER.
ih e 4, uw 4 e km lp a
MOOOI AD (80X125).indd 1
Liesbe h G t roenewald ld
MVA MVA Ex Exhibition hibition
Die MOOOI galery is in ’n ou melkstal waar koeie eers gemelk is oppie plaas Jamstreet 4,4 km buite die dorp. Kreatiwiteit is egter nie beperk tot die galery nie maar begroet mens reeds met die intrapslag.
MOOOI @ JAMSTREET PLAAS ROOIHEUWELPAD, OUDTSHOORN KONTAK: 082 5100 516 WWW.JAMSTREET.CO.ZA
2/12/09 2:36:57 PM
Paul Emmanuel TRANSITIONS 5 February – 8 April 2009
Opening 28 February - 20 March 2009 (Opening)
Time 12 H 00 for 12 H 30
(Tue - Fri 10H00 - 16H00)
Mon – Fri 8 am – 5 pm Sat 10 am – 5 pm Sun & Public Holidays 1 – 5 pm 16 Harry Smith Street Bloemfontein firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 051 447 9609
Unisa Art Gallery (unisa main campus), Theo van Wijk building (goldfields entrance) 5th Floor, Room B5-02 email@example.com
T. (012) 429 6255/6823
F. (012) 429 3221
A new Gallery Listings space awaits you in The SA Art Times Once off: R 600 vat incl. 6 Months contract: R 3000 vat incl. Get a big impact in the SA art market At 55 x 126 mm your advertising space is by far the largest and most reasonable priced advertising space in the leading and most widely distributed South African art newspaper We cover the South African Art Community. We cover the SA Art market monthly, as well as our wide and comprehensive 7 000 printed distribution covers the market and art loving audience extensively. For more information and to book you advert please contact Eugene at 021 424 7732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona Ewan Rowett
FWFUUF!XFZFST; CFFMEIPV.VJUTUBMMJOH ÓNfu!boefs!tf!lbmxfst!qmpfhÔ Cape Town’s largest contemporary art gallery exhibiting works by leading South African artists
Exclusive distributors of
Pieter van der Westhuizen
66 Vineyard Road, Claremont Ph: 021 671 6601
Email: email@example.com Website: www.carmelart.co.za
gsjlbbotf! Gsbtft!jo!ejf!wpmltnpoe-!B f!jt!nz! pfl o!c f!wb jejpnf!fo!ejf!obn !wspvfot! wbo tft! m!gsb fsb u-!w wfsusflqvo jo!pot!mboe/
5!Ñ!22!BQSJM!311: Cftpfl!pot!ppl!wjs!Õo!lfvswfstbnfmjoh! lvot!wbo!Tvje!Bgsjlbbotf!Nfftufst!fo! lpoufnqpssf!lvotufobbst/
K U N S G A L E R Y
R A M E R S
Queens Hotel-gebou, Baron van Reedestraat (oorkant SPUR) T: 044 272 6330 S: 082 477 1563
full selection on website BOTTEGA AD (80X125).indd 1
2/19/09 11:04:26 AM
Salon91 Contemporary Art Collection 91 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 www.salon91art.co.za 082 679 3906 021 4246930 firstname.lastname@example.org www.salon91art.co.za
Gallery F 221 Long Street, Cape Town 8001 +27 21 422 5246 email@example.com www.galleryf.co.za
SA Art Times: Affordable Advertising Prices Circulation: 7 000 printed and distributed to key distribution points across South Africa.
Christopher Møller Art
82 Church Street (Corner Church & Loop St) Cape Town 8001 Tel: +27 21 439 3517, Fax: 086 611 3871 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.christophermollerart.co.za Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 9:30 – 4:30pm Sat: 9:30 – 1pm Old house Steynsberg Robert Domijan
Dealers in contemporary and South African masters.
Listings Block 400 456 ( 63 x 55mm) Listings Block (6 month contract) 2 160 2 462 ( 63 x 55mm) Eighth Page 1 200 1 368 (125 x 80 mm) Eight Page (6 month contract) 5 800 6 600 (125 x 80 mm) Quarter Page 2 800 3 192 (260 x 80 mm) Quarter Page Vertical 3 200 3 648 (83 x 200 mm) Half Page 5 000 5 700 (260 x 165 mm) Full Page 6 500 7 410 (260 x 395 mm) Contact Eugene for questions about advertising at 021 424 7733. E-mail: email@example.com
THE GALLERY BUZZ PAGE
Opening of Claude Bouscharain’s exhibition entitled: Strange Enchartments until 15 March 09 at SMAC Gallery. See more at: www.smacgallery.com
Stanely Pinker, Claude Bouscharain and Erik Laubscher infront of Bouscharain’s work “Light and Man”
Please e-mail your opening images to firstname.lastname@example.org before the 20th of the month
Full house on Claude Bouscharain’s Exhibition “Strange Enchantments” opening night.
Key works from the Sanlam Art Collection collected over the past decade by curator Stefan Hundt launched the first leg of a travelling art exhibition at iArt in Cape Town
Ann Palmer, Stephan Welz, Bina Genovese
Jaco van Schalkwyk, Elana Brundyn, Pieter Brundyn Ann Palmer, Ann
Piet Viljoen, Stefan Hundt
Trent Read, fifth generation art dealer, gallery owner and director has reopened his Knysna Fine Art Gallery see more at www.finearts.co.za
New Red Black and White Gallery owned by Piér and Jo-Marie Rabe opens in Stellenbosch with a show by Strijdom van der Merwe. See more at: www.redblackandwhite.co.za
Moya and Marike van Zyl at the opening of “Exploring Lines” an exhibition of works of art by Strijdom van der Merwe on opening night
Jo-Marie Rabe with friends Marita Wragge and Pieter Toerien
An exterior shot of the warehouse on opening night
New gallery in Stellenbosch, one that offers a unique and exciting exhibition space to artists, the art community and the public. A huge red sculpture “Falling Sticks” by Land Astist Strijdom van der Merwe in front of the building alludes to what happens inside. The building dates from the 1920’s and was originally used as brandy maturation cellar. Stjidom’s fusion of art within a spesific environment brought out the magic of the building and has set the standard for what the Rabes expect from artists who will be exhibiting in this gallery in future. “Artists are enormously inspired by the space. We encourage them to utilize the gallery in whatever way they feel would do justice to their work and to the space” Jo-Marie commented.Piér and Jo-Marie Rabe have been antique dealers and passionate art collectors for the last 25 years. “We never inteded to become gallerists, but then we bought this amazing building. As the renovations started taking shape, the building started to dictate! We decided to call it red, black and white” Piér said. The Rabes are also planning a series of lectures to coinside with the different exhibitions. Shany van den Berg and her daughter Roche will be the showing a group of works next. The title of the exhibition is “HalfMens / HeelMens” 14th of March at 11 o’clock. - 09 April 2009. For more information www.redblackandwhite.co.za or www.antiquewarehouse.co.za E-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 021 886 6281. Photos by oakpics.com
William Kentridge (1955-) Nude on a Landscape 1990 Charcoal and Chalk Pastel on Paper 510 X 420 mm
The Philip Harper Galleries Hermanus, Western Cape www.thephilipharpergalleries.co.za email@example.com
We specialise in South African Art, both Old Masters and select Contemporary Artists, catering for both corporate and private clients
Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Road, Hermanus, Tel: 028 3124836