ArtThrob recently asked a number of its contributors and acquaintances to pause and reconsider 2003. We requested each of them to list their 1) best show(s), 2) best individual artwork, 3) most memorable quote, 4) biggest disappointment, 5) best review, and 6) artist prediction for 2004. Recognising the limitations of this publishing convention, we also asked them to (optionally) proffer some additional commentary articulating their thoughts on what questions people (artists/ critics/ academics/ the public/ sponsors) should be asking about contemporary South African art. These are their responses:
[20.12.03] The year that was
Sipho Mdanda is the proverbial man about town. He looks back on 2003, recalling the highs and lows.
[20.12.03] How Few Silver Pieces Buy the Artful Heart and Mind?
Melvyn Minnaar asks some pointed questions about the Brett Kebble Art Awards, which seemingly taunts all artists to respond.
[20.12.03] It's a small world
Paul Edmunds, writing with deceptive humility, touches on some profound concerns relating to the difficult interplay of art and criticism.
[20.12.03] 2003 in review
Sean O'Toole adds his voice to the mix.
[01.12.03] The best and the worst
Andrew Lamprecht's review of 2003 and additional comments for 2004.
[01.12.03] Virginia MacKenny gives her thoughts on this year
Virginia MacKenny gives her thoughts on this year.
[01.12.03] The amazing times in which we live
Michael Stevenson sees the possibility of Johannesburg being one of the creative capitals of the world in the early 21st century.
[01.12.03] My year as meat
Ed Young looks back on the year in which he became the talk - and for some the toast - of the town.
[01.12.03] Observations of an art slut
Garth Walker's ten-point guide to South African art might not be possessed with the same biblical authority as those delivered through Moses, but they do clarify a few things.
Carine Zaayman cannot see the point of being an artist if you cannot be a human being.
[20.12.03] Karl Gietl at João Ferreira
Paul Edmunds visits Karl Gietl's and finds himself amused by the paintings, but realises, at the same time, that not everyone will find the same thing.
[20.12.03] Minette Vári's ritual of penance
Sue Williamson hails Minette Vári's twin channel video The Calling, stating: "Vári has reached a new level of accomplishment, both in concept and in form."
[20.12.03] The Michaelis Graduate Exhibition
Paul Edmunds visits the Michaelis Graduate Exhibition and finds his own maturity, with all its benefits and pitfalls, thrown into sharp relief.
[01.12.03] Cloud, a wondrous phenomenon of transporting magnitude
In his review of Paul Edmunds' recent show 'Clouds', at João Ferreira, Andrew Lamprecht comments on what a "truly transporting exhibition" the artist has conceived.
[01.12.03] At long last: Esther Mahlangu stands alonede
Esther Mahlangu's first significant solo outing in this country reveals that her elements of line, repetition, contrast, and colour work seamlessly together, writes Amelia Pleasant.
[01.12.03] Picnic at Bell-Roberts
Paul Edmunds visits 'Picnic', at the Bell-Roberts Gallery, to find a selection of dishes, some of which are remarkably tantalising and others which find themselves in odd company.
[01.12.03] Beyond the gamut: Resfest shows up the pale in the art world
"The field of digital video is quickly becoming one of the most important components of the public sphere," writes Carine Zaayman. She reports back from Resfest.
[01.12.03] DIY at MuseuMAfricA
Six young Wits graduates staged a group show at MuseuMAfricA recently. Sean O'Toole was pleasantly surprised.
[01.12.03] Kay Hassan at Gallery Momo
Kay Hassan's recent show at Gallery Momo incorporated works in three distinct media: watercolour, collage as well as an installation-based series of pieces. Sean O'Toole reviews.
[01.12.03] Brenton Maart at PhotoZA
Brenton Maart's first solo show, titled 'Temporary Architecture', tackles a difficult medium. It however fails to show an intuitive sense of purpose, writes Sean O'Toole.
[01.12.03] Penny Siopis at Wits
Penny Siopis' new, miniature paintings, from her Shame series, were recently on show at Wits, before they left for a show in Athens. Sean O'Toole saw them.
[01.12.03] Home is where the 'art is
'Home', the Siwela Sonke Dance production, directed by Jay Pather, creates a powerful hybrid: a theatre of imagery. By Khara-Jade Small.
[20.12.03] Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora
Sue Williamson asks if we have had our moment in the limelight?
[20.12.03] Fresh from South Africa: Supporting Young Artists
Emma Bedford discusses the Fresh project, in the process offering a snapshot of young South African artists and their concerns.
[20.12.03] Short change: The curator as editor
Mario Pissarra's exhaustive critical review of Okwui Enwezor's (ed.) The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945- 1994 finds the book excellent in itself, but ultimately disconnected from a coherent whole.
[01.12.03] Moshekwa Langa
Moshekwa Langa works with effortless confidence to create a poetic that will not yield to simple categorisation, writes Sue Williamson.
[01.12.03] Documenting the cultural fabric of the Cape Flats
Chris Ledochowski's Cape Flats Details is a dense collection of tightly packed photographs of the Cape Flats. By Rory Bester.
[01.12.03] Michael Meyersfeld's Gaze
Gaze is a superb production of the highest quality but hasn't resolved for itself that old, important and thorny question of the relationship between art and advocacy, writes Rory Bester.