Saturday, February 1
Last year, New York artist Baruch Gottlieb circulated 'Afro' banknotes round the Dakar Biennale to coincide with the launch of the 'Euro'. Today I get this email.
"Hi Friends, Print this out a few times and burn it - according to Chinese tradition burning money will bring prosperity for the New Year - here in Korea I couldn't find any of the 'hell money' you can buy in Chinatown back home, so I made my own,
Peace, prosperity and success in the Year of the Sheep."
So for all those hanging in there for funding proposals ....
Sunday, February 2
Today's email of choice comes from Pam Allara, curator with Marilyn Martin of the Coexistence show (see listing) at the Rose Museum near Boston: " The Coexistence opening last week was a huge success, with the largest turn-out ever for an opening at the Rose Art Museum."
The show comes to the National Gallery in Cape Town sometime in the future.
Tuesday, February 4
Swiss curator Karin Frei comes to visit the studio. Sponsored by Pro Helvetia, she is here to curate a show for here and her home country entitled 'Notions of Paradise'. As she says the title, a soft pink cloudlike feeling floats over me. Of course, the title can be treated in an ironic way, but ... notions of paradise ... a real change after all the post-struggle shows. Karin says artists are charmed by her theme.
A rare post-studio drink at Jo'burg Bar in Long Street. Art lecturer and critic Andrew Lamprecht tells me he's observed the diary is getting shorter and shorter, and that I used to write something for every single day. I explain this is because I'm always desperately busy so there's just no time ... but I am astonished anyone has really noticed.
Wednesday, February 5
Kevin Brand's show opens at Brendon Bell-Roberts. I'm intrigued by the cream metal rectangles with shaped rounded corners that form the bases of Kevin's pixel paintings in their gentle range of sludgy greens, tans and greys. Reminiscent of a sort of fifties' table top. Kevin tells me they are old housings for airconditioning units which used to go into ceilings.
Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann of the Swiss duo L/B are here, in town for a couple of months to do a project. Last year, their photographs of them 'doing gym' in a forest were put up in a laundrette as part of the Month of Photography, and Sabina was a presenter at the Public Eye 'Beyond the Gallery' conference.
Thursday, February 6
Phone rings. Jane Alexander. Do I know of any visiting artists who would be prepared to be part of the Michaelis lecture series? Phone rings again. Justine Wheeler-Koons. She and Jeff are coming to Cape Town for three days in March with baby Sean. The coincidence is too perfect. "Do you think Jeff ... would mind ...talking about his work to the students at Michaelis.?" Justine thinks he might.
Friday, February 7
A meeting of the steering committee of VANSA. The Visual Arts Network of South Africa. This new organisation will launch at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town on March 27, and other launches will take place in other centres around the same time, with a national launch in July. So what's it all about? Unity is strength, and artists need more clout at every level to get the kind of great art projects going which will attract locals and internationals alike - and to support artists on the ground.
Out to Spier Wine Estate to see William Kentridge's 'Confessions of Zeno' in the outdoor amphitheatre there. Spot William looking anxiously up at the glowering clouds. But it doesn't rain, and the evening is a tour de force. For more, read my review.
Saturday, February 8
Breakfast with BHP Billiton Art Collection curator Natasha Fuller and husband David Frost. This time next week I will be packing for Perth - or Melbourne, anyway, where Natasha and I will give a walkabout and be on a panel discussion about the 'Intersections' show Billiton is showing at the RMIT Gallery. Johannes Phokela will join us from London.
A wedding party for Mary Anne Brouckaert and new husband at a Clifton bungalow. I'm late, and miss the speeches. "And I mentioned ArtThrob in my speech!" says Mary Anne. ArtThrob's getting like Chris and Penny. "I look at it most lunchtimes." William is here, and we discuss his forthcoming print for Editions for ArtThrob. Mark Attwood of the The Artists Press has just taken himself off to Mpumulanga, leaving the Johannesburg printmakers bereft. A plan must be made.
Monday, February 10
Yes, Jeff Koons will speak at Michaelis. Very generous, considering he's only here three days. Watch this space for more details.
It's Robert Hodgins' opening tonight, at the Joáo Ferreira Gallery. Joao has opened a large new gallery space one floor up from where he has always been, and Robert's paintings glow against the wall. It is also the launch of the second Editions for ArtThrob print, Robert's La Contessa Venemosa. Framed in simple black on the wall, a red sticker for the first sale rapidly appears, Others will follow later.