Archive: Issue No. 60, August 2002

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.

Christina Sharpe

Visitor Christina Sharpe

Sue Williamson

Benzien meets Big Brother

Jane Alexander

Cover of the Jane Alexander catalogue

Monday, July 2

A morning visit and interesting discussion with Christina Sharpe of the Department of English at Tufts University, Boston. Christina is one of a number of young overseas academics who come to this country to get a bit of first hand experience of all the ramifications of transition in our complicated society, particularly in regard to gender issues. , and to see what kinds of cultural energy are being generated. The intriguing provisional title of the book she is working on is Partially visible: race, desire and national imaginings.

Thursday, July 4

I'm sure every contactable artist in the country is used to receiving emails from an endless stream of matric art students, all of whom have "selected YOU to write my matric art project about, so if you wouldn't mind answering the following 150 questions ..." To combat this, I usually fire off a cv and a FAQ sheet, plus an Artist's Statement or two. All in the name of encouraging interest in art in the country's youth. Even this sometimes takes a day or two to assemble and dispatch, The ones that really freak me are those that arrive at 3 p.m, like one did today, with the footnote, "I have to hand my essay in tomorrow, so could you please answer by return email ...". Sorry. No.

Wednesday, July 10

I am off to Stockholm for a show in September, and have been trying to juggle my schedule to fit in a visit to Documenta en route. Thus, comments on the mega-show in an email received today from New York artist and art writer Barbara Pollack are of particular interest..(Barbara wasn't able to make Documenta herself). "Over here, people have come back from Documenta with two completely divergent points of view. Half of my friends loved it. The other half thought it was too didactic. But,that is the typical split when an exhibition has a lot of artists from non-Euro-countries. (Though overall, it was considered much better than the Whitney Biennial, so that means it must have been pretty good.)", Barbara's comments about the love it/hate it reactions bear out two earlier comments I received. Salah Hassan, editor of NKA magazine in New York and director of African Studies at Cornell University wrote: " I just returned from Kassel after attending the opening and it was fabulous. The exhibitions were the best I have seen in years. Great works and well done. It is the best Documenta ever. Okwui and his team have set the standards very high and it would be very difficult for future curators to surpass. I hope you have the chance to visit Kassel." From Kassel, Cape Town critic Melvyn Minnaar wrote: "finding it pretty pedestrian". Can't wait to see for myself.

Thursday, July 11

First, the bad news. My proposal for the Cape Town Convention Centre has been unsuccessful. I learn later that of 65 proposals for the 28 x 7.5 metre panel to hang in the entrance lobby, five have been selected to go forward to maquette stage. Next, the good news ... well, if not actually "good", amusing, anyway. In an email subject lined Die broer wat loer, Kathryn Smith asks for one of the 'Truth Games' series based on the proceedings of the TRC for the next Big Brother house. Amusing, because to have the house members standing around forced to discuss the whys and wherefores of this and the other chosen artworks instead of who did what to who in the jacuzzi should be worth watching.

Friday, July 12

More news from the Convention Centre. Five artists have had their mural proposals accepted to take forward to maquette stage, but the selection committee wasn't happy with the proposals for the two hanging spaces, so anyone who registered in the first place can now come up with a fresh proposal for August 2. I'm pleased at the chance for another shot, but not so excited at yet another deadline to deal with. Still, can't have one without the other.

Tuesday, July 23

One of the real advantages of being an ArtThrob editor is that one receives beautiful catalogues through the post, unannounced. Recently it was the mega tome An Anthology of African Art: the Twentieth Century, published by Revue Noire. Look for a review in the October issue of ArtThrob, which is its international launch date. Today it was the Daimler/Chrysler catalogue for Jane Alexander's award winning show now on in Berlin, but due in this country later this year. Brilliant reproduction of her work.

Sunday, July 28

Opening night of Big Brother. Irritating presenter in helicopter tracking the parade of black limousines carrying the new housemates to the Big Brother house squealingly carries on as if every watcher should be grateful to witness such an extraordinary sight. Wish she'd either shut up or fall out of the helicopter. Welcome cut to the Trinity Session in the house. Kathryn Smith, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter talk about why the new housemates are to be surrounded by ART. Exit the TS. Housemates arrive, one by one. Lots more squealing as they check each other out. Kathryn tells me some time later that one of them hung their towel on the Brett Murray piece in the bathroom. The TS had to send an urgent message to BB: tell them that's ART not a towel rack. Doesn't the youth of today have any respect?


'Grime' at Bell-Roberts, Jo'burg Art City & the CT Convention Centre

Gallery-hopping in Cape Town

The Dak/Art Biennnial in Senegal

Sue Williamson in Jo'burg

'Who defines the contemporary? Biennials and the global art world'

Smithsonian's National Museum for African Art, Washington

Homeport at the V&A Waterfront

Jo'burg & the Joubert Park Project

Artist Matthew Hindley at the World Wide Video Festival

Exhibitions in Chicago and Washington

A visit to South Africa House in London

Joubert Park Project; Art Spaces in Gender Perspective, Germany

'Homeport' collaboration; Joubert Park Project; Omar Badsha