Archive: Issue No. 79, March 2004

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Beyond reductive terms denoting colour
by Michael Stevenson

Themed issues are understandable because they focus diverse thoughts at a time and place around a specific issue, but I do wonder about colour serving as the categorisation in our post-rainbow-nation society. What next? A lilac issue dealing with dilettantism in the South African art world (what an issue that would be!). Or, the white issue (one could argue that every issue is a white issue?). Or, a red issue exploring the impact of communism on art, recalling the old regime and the rooigevaar. Or, a yellow issue that could engage with the imagined Chinese peril.

The issue I look most forward to would be the green issue promoting the idea of a more environmentally friendly art world in which all contemporary art is recyclable, to save our planet becoming lopsided by the current excessive production of art and veering off into the sun. So, in jest but also in all seriousness, the very idea of a pink issue is perhaps problematic, especially in this era when gayness is no longer marginalized, and queerness has been suburbanised (use the recently MCQP parties as testimony).

Perhaps an issue should instead be focused more bluntly around sexuality, and gay and/or lesbian themes or, let's be brave and discuss notions of masculinity (what is the female equivalent?) , and let's be even braver and avoid that dreary all-encompassing banal word 'gender' in these debates. The term pink is cute and amusing but it has lost its otherness and become corporate-speak for banks and the like seeking to increase market penetration (no pun).

Let's move the debate beyond reductive terms denoting colour.