Passing through Cape Town this month on a trip timed to tie in with the last days of Trans Cape (ouch) and organise a future show in Barcelona, Spanish curator Pep Subiros commented that for him, South Africa was the most alive artistic community in the world ... one in which young artists go beyond their subjective interests to embrace the collective and address historical and social conditions. Looking at the list of exhibitions on offer this month and at the focus of some of those shows, one might agree with Pep ... scanning down the list, one sees HIV/Aids, farm life and labour conditions under scrutiny, an exhibition produced by offenders in correctional centres in KZN, politically inclined artist Manfred Zylla is showing at Momo, Clive van den Berg's Goodman Gallery show 'Skin and Ghosts' which considers the porosity of skin in an age of AIDS is reviewed ... and so it goes.
Could sound a bit depressing, but the level of engagement of the artists with their subject often lifts the work into a sphere way beyond that of political or social rhetoric ... read what Tavish McIntosh has to say about Berni Searle's 'Crush' which also has a theme of farm labour as an underpinning.
A special feature this month is a review section of books received at ArtThrob. Discourse makes the art world go round, and the pity is that most of these books are so limited in their distribution. Even the museum shops don't really carry the specialist range of publications one might expect to find there. But let's be grateful the books are available at all. Clarkes Bookshop in Cape Town, listed in the websites section, is the country's acknowledged art books specialist and always ready to post books out.
Next update: Sunday, December 3
Galleries gear up towards lengthier year-end exhibitions to showcase their top artists. Michael Stevenson shows recent work by contemporary artists as well as earlier SA masters, what if the world ... holds a group show of 100 anonymous canvases to stir up speculation, and 10 artists working in different media respond to a common theme at Erdmann Contemporary. On a more reflective note, SANG selects artworks exploring HIV/Aids for a group exhibition opening this month. At the National Library, Jurgen Schadeberg presents a series of photographs on farm life and labour conditions.
As the year winds down, the gallery circuit gets busy. The month sees a return to Jozi galleries for Zwelethu Mthethwa and Sam Nhlengethwa, a potentially compelling show at JAG on women and photography curated by (relative) NKOTBs Jeanine Howse and Amy Watson, and a return to our city of Capetonian Stephen Inggs for a show at Art on Paper. Political art heavyweight Manfred Zylla shows at Gallery Momo this month, while Alison Kearney returns from Australia (we trust with her accent intact) to show the products of her residency there.
The Durban Art Gallery is host to both 2006 Standard Bank Young Artist Churchill Madikida and 'Towards a New Future- Sizoshinisa Impilo Yethu: An exhibition of artwork produced by offenders in correctional centres in KwaZulu-Natal'; Louise Hall exhibits at artSPACE durban and the KZNSA ends the year off with its annual 'Buzzart' festive exhibition.
Mikhael Subotzky participates in the World Press Photo's Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, while Ruth Sacks, along with Kendell Geers and Johan Thom show in the Canary Islands Biennale. Candice Breitz, Kendell Geers hold solo shows in the UK, and Jane Alexander, Guy Tillim, Mustafa Maluka and Pieter Hugo take part in the São Paulo Bienal.
Tavish McIntosh reviews Bernie Searle's 'Crush' at Michael Stevenson Contemporary, while Andrew Lamprecht grapples with Lien Botha's 'Amendment' at Erdmann Contemporary.
Michael Smith visits both Standard Bank Young Artist 2007 Pieter Hugo's solo outing at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary and Clive van den Berg's 'Skin and Ghosts' at the Goodman Gallery.
Francesca Verga reviews the DAG's 'About Face', a portraiture show drawing from the Gallery's extensive collection, and Carol Brown visits the KZNSA where she encounters both the Vega Navigators' group show and new work by Andrew Verster.
Natasha Becker reviews Durban-born Ledelle Moe's 'Collapse' at Axis Gallery in New York. Sue Williamson and AltaVista Babelfish translate a review of the São Paulo Bienal by Carlos Jiminez Babelia which appeared in El Pais.
We feature three contributions from Michael Godby's History of Art Honours students. Chantal Louw writes on 'Want and Desire' at João Ferreira Gallery, Samuel Waumsley turns his attention to 'Review' at 34Long and Erin Odell reviews Marieke Kruger's show at Bell-Roberts.
SPECIAL FEATURE: BOOKS
Current art books received by ArtThrob are reviewed by books editor Andrew Lamprecht, Sue Williamson, Tambudzai LaVerne Sibanda, and Bettina Malcomess.
Capetonian photographer Pieter Hugo wins Standard Bank Young Artist Award for 2007. VANSA is to hold a curators' workshop on Robben Island and
Iziko SANG hosts a lecture series by Lloyd Pollak on Baroque art. David Krut Publishers launch Light on a Hill: Building the Constitutional Court of South Africa and, just around the corner, Wits University showcases collaborative projects by 2006's Design Master's Students. The Durban Critical Voices writing workshop to be directed by Sean O'Toole is postponed.
Sue Williamson is on sabbatical from doing the diary, so this space is empty this month, but from December the space will start to host the ramblings of others in the field. Ed Young and Andrew Lamprecht are two future diarists on the schedule.
Storm Janse van Rensburg writes on 2006 MTN New Contemporaries Award winner Mlu Zondi from Durban.
Carine Zaayman visits 'The Warhol: Education', a valuable education website maintained by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, USA.
We feature a series of online portfolios, the most impressive of which is Mikhael Subotzky's - http://www.imagesby.com
ArtThrob seeks a new editor for KwaZuluNatal; the 52nd Venice Biennale extends its call for proposals for African representation, and Critical voices, an arts writing and editing workshop by Sean O'Toole is still accepting applications. 'X-CAPE' repeats its call for entries and ICEBOX also invites submissions.
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