Saturday, March 1
The wedding of Jo Dall, a young painter in the All Star studio, to Neil Davies, in Hermanus about an hour and a half from Cape Town. Jo looks completely stunning. In a white marquee opposite the hills of the Fernkloof Nature reserve, the dancing goes on till very late.
Saturday, March 2
Recover from Jo's wedding.
Monday, March 3
Launch of Art South Africa Issue No.3 at the Bell-Roberts Gallery. The cover features Kendell Geers' piece from his show at the Palais de Tokyo last year - a single match, floated on a background of pale baby blue. The Assassin's Apprentice. The look of a significant detail for each cover image of the new magazine is being established. Last issue showed a small section of a William Kentridge drawing of cast iron work, a persistent Kentridge theme, this time from Confessions of Zeno. The magazine has an in-depth interview with Kendell, lots of other good material and fine repro and really comes of age with this third issue. Should be read by all interested in art and artists of this country. Online, look for more info at www.bell-roberts.com.
Wednesday, March 5
Meet art historian Michael Godby of the University of Cape Town at the S.A. National Gallery, together with a group of his MA students. Over the coming months, they will be writing crits of Cape Town exhibitions for ArtThrob. Criteria for writing for the website are discussed. I point out that not only will the vast majority of ArtThrob readers have no opportunity to see the show, but probably won't know the work of many of the artists either, so the review has to set up a very clear idea of what the exhibition is before discussing it critically. Watch out for these student reviews as they start appearing over the next few months.
Drinks with Jeff Koons and Justine Wheeler Koons and energetic 18-month-old Sean at the Table Bay. Jeff comments that the golden finish on the outsize seal sculpture in front of the hotel is similar to the process used on his piece Balloon Dog. I leave carrying the carousel of slides for tomorrow night's lecture. Such is the fever created by the announcement that he will be speaking, that heaven forbid there should be any last minute technical bloops with the projector.
Thursday, March 6
Art highlight of the week: American art star Jeff Koons addresses a packed crowd of 214 in the Little Theatre on the campus of the Michaelis School of Art. When I get to the gate fifteen minutes before start time the ABSOLUTELY FULL signs are already up, and vigorous arguments are going on at the door from people who say they have driven for an hour and a half and are determined to get in. Jeff arrives, takes the audience through a retrospective of his career, from the early vacuum cleaner pieces through Michael Jackson with Bubbles, showing two of the images of himself with Cicciolina, on to Puppy, a personal favourite of mine, and the latest Easyfun paintings. His voice is soft, perfectly modulated, and his audience is riveted. For me, his most important message to the students is: Have absolute trust in your own idea, and focus on it intensely through to the completion of the work. Another point: every single piece of the artwork is as important as every other piece. There is no hierarchy. Treat the bottom, which might not be seen, with the same care as the top.
Exiting through a side door, we are accosted by a student with some panties in a bag for Jeff to sign. He draws a little daisy on one, trying to make a magic marker work on the pink fabric. Later, he comments that he is usually swamped by students wanting autographs, and asks if I thought the talk went down well. I assure him that he was a huge hit. At drinks in Jo'burg Bar later, young artist Cameron Platter asks if he can write about the lecture. It's in today's review section. (Link)
Friday, March 7
Long meeting with my publishers at Double Storey Books, Bridget Impey and Russell Martin, over the final details of the catalogue for the Brussels show which opens next month. Time is getting short.
Tuesday, March 1
Been so busy these last few weeks that my studio is a total mess, with piles of papers and slide sheets everywhere. Today I am expecting a visit from a group from the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and somehow order must be reimposed. Chuck out, dust, straighten, hide, hang a piece of work, borrow some computer speakers so I can show Can't forget, can't remember on my laptop. Senior curator Dan Cameron is leading the group. We met last year, when we were on a panel entitled 'Who defines the contemporary? Biennials and the global art world' organised by the Smithsonian in Washington, and I was impressed then by the ease and fluency with which he articulated complex issues. Today he is the perfect group leader, asking the right questions so that I can try to explain to my visitors something about my own work, Public Eye, ArtThrob, and the South African art scene. Focussed questions follow, and I enjoy the interaction. I think it is yet another sign of the health of the local art world that such an important visit can take place. Suzette Bell-Roberts arrives to take the group to the studios of Roelof Louw and Brett Murray.