Dude, where's my Avant Car Guard?
by Ed Young
These guys are funny.
Upon first contact with the collective in question, they were in a slow process of being evicted from Dirt Contemporary, half an hour prior to their first Cape Town show's opening. This is not to suggest that these boys are necessarily young reprobates, it might have had something more to do with the fact that curator Rory Palmer had not paid the rent for a couple of months and trashed the space a little bit during the previous exhibition. I lent a hand.
Palmer ended up in prison.
But this particular incident did not really buffer the car guards. They proceeded to produce a really kick-ass publication called Volume I (I am still waiting for my complimentary copy). In their attempt to launch it at Bell-Roberts Gallery, in a sort of rock star type signing session, the fans did not arrive. It was called: Skakel Oor na die Donkerkant.
But, this was not enough to get the collective down. Despite the lack of interest and the disgust, they pushed on and developed the Africa Biennale 2008, after 'having secured both operational support and project funding from the World Art and Corporate Entities', comfortably accepting Africa's fate as a country. They are currently calling for submissions (see EXCHANGE).
Other projects include Volume II, which was launched at The Pure Project, in New York City, as well as contributions to One Million and Forty-Four Years (and sixty three days), a book by Kathryn Smith on the ever-lonely avant-garde. They also launched Volume I at David Krut Projects recently.
Avant Car Guard is Zander Blom, Jan-Henri Booyens and Michael MacGarry, and although it is a extremely self-referential and a bit of a circular navel-gaze, this project is a refreshing undertaking in contrast with the stodginess that characterises much contemporary South African art. They are currently in residence in the ArtHeat ProjectSpace.