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DECEMBER 2009 - JANUARY 2010 | E-mail: subs@arttimes.co.za | Member of the Global Art Information Group


The 2009 auction year in review

By Michael Coulson

Just how big is the SA art auction market? Well, the only thing you can be sure of is that any published figures -- includ- ing those in this article -- will be wrong. Some reasons for this are unavoidable: on the one side, it’s not uncommon for works not sold on the night to be sold afterwards by public treaty; on the other, buyers caught away by the excitement of the night may subsequently renege (as apparently happened in large numbers at the Paris sale of the collection of the late Yves St Laurent). Neither of these events can be captured in the price lists auction houses put out im- mediately after the sale, which are what media reports and the houses’ own PR releases are based on. Nor are they gener- ally publicised later, the failed “Tretchikoff” at Graham Britz’s sale of the Brett Kebble collec- tion being a rare exception. The first event means that reports are understated, the second that they are overstated. Then, allowance must be made for publicity-related hype. In November, consultancy Artvault estimated Stephan Welz & Co (Swelco)’s art sales to that date at R40m. Swelco told the Financial Mail that they were in fact R55m, with another R15m expected in the November sale.

When I asked Swelco deputy chairman Jack Rosewitz what Swelco’s total 2009 turnover was, and how much of it was art, he put the total at R100m, of which about R80m was art. By both Artvault’s and my calculations, this is a substantial overstatement. Artvault’s figure would gross up to about R52m for the year, while I make it

slightly less, at about R48.5m.

Rosewitz, incidentally, tells me that Swelco’s total turnover (all departments) in 2008 was R180m, so it certainly took a big knock from Strauss. He admits Swelco had to cut its dividends but says it’s still profitable and well capitalised, flatly denying market rumours a couple of months ago that he and chairman Mark Kretschmer had had to put in more capital. Turnover is back to where it was in 2006 when they took over, which was 50% up on the previous year. By my count, there were nine sales by the three major auction- eers in 2009, summarised in the table below:

The Kebble sale was unique,
The Kebble sale was unique,

Guy Tillim: Piazza dei Cinquecento to be seen at Michael Stevenson’s Summer 2009/10: Projects until 16 January 2010. For more see: www.michaelstevenson.com

part of the market in SA art but arguably not part of the SA art market.

and there can be no doubt Strauss’s Stephan Welz pulled out all the stops and used his unequalled contacts to ensure an unprecedented event. But for this, some of the lots may have been held back from 2008, others may have appeared later in the year and others may not even have come on to market at all. Still, after Kebble, Strauss’s sales were the year’s three big- gest, indicating the impact this newcomer had. However, even it may not be immune from hype: Strauss claims its sales topped R100m. By my count, it grossed just R91.5m from art, with another R4.8m from its first furniture and silver sales, at its Cape sale.

In a review of its year, Strauss chairman Elisabeth Bradley cites some of the artists for whom the house achieved record prices: Anton van Wouw, Irma Stern, Jean Welz (father, of course, of Stephan), Wolf Kibel, Frans Oerder, Freida Lock, Dorothy Kay, May Hillhouse and Edoardo Villa. As highlights, she mentions R7.24m, a world record for




Sold by

Sold by





























































ZAR 193.1 M

Notes: # % of lots on offer; *% of total low estimates; ^Excl’s “Tretchikoff”

This compares with a grossed- up figure from Artvault of about R235m, though they work on hammer prices while, in line with international practice, my prices include buyer’s premium. On a comparable basis, the Artvault figure would probably be somewhere above R260m. Artvault also includes some (but not all) of the minor houses, like Pretoria’s Bernardi Bros, as well as sales in London, which it puts at R45m and are no doubt

Errors and omissions excepted, these figures are remarkably symmetrical. They show that in its first year Strauss & Co captured as near as dammit 50% of the art auction market with the balance split equally by Britz and Swelco . Remarkably, too, some 45% came in two of the first three sales of the year, Strauss’s inaugural sale and the Kebble sale. These were for dif- ferent reasons one-offs.

a Stern still life, R5.57m for

Stern’s portrait Carla, a world record both for the artist and an SA sculpture of R946 900 for Van Wouw’s Noitjie van die Onderveld and a record R1.225m for Jean Welz’s Still Life Cezannesque.

She also trumpets the defection of “the key staff” from Swelco’s Cap office, though both Rose- witz and Swelco chairman Mark Kretschmer have separately as- serted to me that they didn’t rate the trio that highly. A touch of exaggeration on the one hand, and deprecation on the other, perhaps.

One of Swelco’s most remark- able results came in its final sale, when it reached a world record for William Kentridge:

R1.456m for a drawing, against an estimate of only R400 000- R600 000. Among its other

triumphs was a record-equalling R3.136m for a Pierneef Baobab.

A lesser record was R291 000

for Bettie Cilliers-Barnard,

amazing because the estimate was a mere R14 000-R18 000.

In his single sale, Britz claimed

26 world records, notably

R3.85m for Preller’s Christ Head and R660 000 for a Vols-

chenk Riverside landscape.

Of course, one can’t ignore London, where there were three main sales including SA art.

Bonham’s sale of African Contemporary Art in London on April 8 was a disaster. Overall,

50 of 95 lots sold, or 53%, but

£352 000 gross fell under half

the low estimate of £731 000. Of 35 works by SA artists,

35 sold. But because the two

highest estimates didn’t sell, the £105 000 gross was only 27% of the low £391 500 estimate.

Bonham’s October sale of SA art grossed £2.36m by my count (the house claimed £2.5m), against a low estimate of £2.49m, and was about 55% sold by number. These figures compare with £7.1m for a single, world record, sale of SA art in September 2008, suggesting that the market for SA art held up better at home and hardly bearing out Bonham’s repeated claim that the centre of the SA art market is now in London. Still, Bonham’s is persisting in

this market. Next March it holds both an SA sale in London and

a sale titled Africa Now in,

interestingly, New York. The third London sale, in Sep-

tember was Sotheby’s Art for

Africa charity sale, for which

it waived buyer’s premium. A

gross £457 000 was in the up- per range of the £358 500-£507

000 estimate, with only two of 38 lots unsold.

And the disaster of the year? Unquestionably, the cancella- tion of a R3.1m “Tretchikoff” Lost Orchid at the Kebble sale, which Britz insisted was kosher long after the Tretchikoff fam- ily and most art historians had questioned it, if not rejected it outright.

How the reputational damage of this will affect Britz’s planned annual sales of SA art remains

to be seen. But there will surely be changes in market share in

2010. Neither Britz nor Strauss

are likely to be able to repeat their best results of 2009. On the other hand, Strauss plans to broaden its non-art coverage.

But on balance, Swelco could well recover market share at the expense of both its competi- tors, though the total size of the market could fall.

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Public and Private:

Collecting and Exhibiting in an Environment of Cultural Indifference

Paper presented at the First Conference on Management of Cultural Organizations in times of economic crisis, Cape Town, 3-4 Dec. 2009

By Stefan Hundt

Curator: Sanlam Art Collection

I have taken some liberties in presenting a paper at this conference. First of all I must describe the context I am com- ing from and why I am making this presentation. Let it be known from the outset that I stand here not behalf of anyone or organisation and therefore the opinions that express here are entirely my own and I make not pretensions to scientific rigor.

My background is in the visual arts as a student of painting and the history of art. My foray into the world of museum began with a four-year stint as curator of the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein and then as curator for the Sanlam Art Collection for the past thirteen years.

What I wish to share is per- sonal account of my experi- ences in the public art museum and corporate art collection worlds over the last 17 years and my intention is to sketch out the landscape that these collections inhabit. Beginning with the private sector I will discuss briefly the nature of the corporate art collection, collec- tors dealers speculators and the rapid growth in the art market in South Africa. Over the last two decades publicly funded art museums have because of the enormous growth in the South African art market seen their ability to fulfil their core function of collecting entirely eroded. Government and pub- lic indifference to their plight has further contributed towards these institutions becoming progressively incapable of participating meaningfully in the South African artworld.

Art Collecting in the Private Sector

Let me begin with what is clos- er to home for me presently, the world of the corporate art collection.

The corporation collects works under the direction of the com- pany’s board. Often though this is usually the result of the initiative of a powerful chair- man or chief executive officer. In some instances in South Africa it is common practice in some corporations to hand over the task of selecting the artworks to be acquired to the chairman’s wife. For these companies the primary purpose of acquiring art is for office decoration and the acquisi- tion of such “assets” is purely utilitarian and of a temporary nature - the value of which is reflected in them being depreci- ated on the same basis as office furniture. Although this may have been common practice some forty years ago it is rarely the case now and one cannot generalise. There are of course model examples of corporate

collections such as the Chase Manhattan Bank Collection ( now JP Morgan Chase Col- lection) where the explicit mo- tivation for the collection was more than decoration; in that the art symbolically reflected the company’s commitment to idea of creativity and the recog- nition of the cultural diversity of its work force and clients. The acquisition of these artworks was dealt with, with the same fiduciary prudence that the acquisition of any asset was. Rarely have corporations seen their acquisitions of art works as investments although they may appear to have be- come such now. The founding of the Sanlam Art Collection in 1965 was based on similar principles and as a result the collection today boasts some of the finest examples of works by South African artists. Sanlam also understood its art collection to have an “educa- tional” function and a selection of the collection was shown in smaller towns throughout South Africa, the then Rhodesia and South West Africa. There is no doubt that an element of

Vodacom Collection, Telkom Collection, SABC Collection, Didata Collection to name a few.

case. Clearly the honeymoon

between art collecting and the corporation is over and the future significance that these collections will hold, will depend on other participants

“Corporate Collection” became the buzzword in the South African artworld as critics, art historians, chief executives, art consultants and artists discussed the relative merits of the various collections in comparison to each other. One can in some sense speak of a “golden age”. Perhaps this may now be over. None of the collections listed above pursue active acquisitions programmes any longer. More recently Sasol announced its discon- tinuation of its art collecting programme and has curtailed its visual arts sponsorships. The reasons given: that the company strategy and that of the collection no longer cor- related. There is little doubt that the economic crisis has had some effect on corporate art collections as budget cuts become have become the order of the day. However the “demise” of these collections already began before this crisis


the artworld namely the


private collector, the state and museums.


The Private Collector

The private collector is moti-

vated significantly differently


the corporate or the museum.

I would like to distinguish clearly between the collector

that acquires artworks as part


inner necessity and interest


the object where the value of

the work is more of symbolic than financial significance as

opposed to a collector whose

motivation is the maximisation


return on their investment,

who is essentially a speculator. For the speculator price is hard and necessary fact, the pursuit


its maximisation is the

ultimate goal and symbolism is



Although this difference may

be simple enough to describe



words to identify such in


shrewd marketing was involved here too. After all developing an art collection is not the core business of the company.

The Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation or ‘Rembrandt Art Collection’ as it was more popularly known pursued similar altruistic motives and extensive tours of works drawn from its international holdings in the Stuyvesant Foundation continued to be enjoyed by the South African public on a regular basis up until 2008.

hit South Africa. Could it be that owning an art collection had lost its relevance?

The word relevant has its his- tory in the visual arts in South Africa as a term used to distin- guish between art that could be considered worthy of recogni- tion because it contributed to “Struggle” as opposed to art produced in the pursuit of aes- thetic propositions. Needless to say amongst many artists and curators today the word has attained equivalence to the worst explicative imaginable.

reality proves much more dif- ficult. Dealers often present themselves in both guises. In the gallery he or she hangs the commercial bread and butter stock of the trade while in the stock room are kept the works reserved for specific clients / collectors and museums. Their speech emulates that of the museum curator, emphasis- ing the cultural and heritage significance of the artwork and the desirability that it should become part of the public domain.

There are a number of other notable Corporate Collections in South Africa that have sig- nificant histories. I would like to mention a few as examples:

Standard Bank Collection (+/- 1500 items), ABSA Collection has by far the largest collec- tion of works number over 22 000 and Sasol Collection with about 1800 items.

Although the notion of a corpo- rate collection was not foreign in the South African art world it was not until the mid 1990s that concept of the art collec- tion as an effective corporate symbol reached maturity.

From 1994 until about 2001 corporate collections in South Africa became a growth indus- try. By acquiring an art collec- tion, a corporation was able to demonstrate its commitment to the new political dispensation in South Africa in a cost effec- tive way. Starting this trend was the founding of the Gencor Collection in 1995. The moti- vation behind establishing the collection was

“ … a visual expression of the new unbundled Gencor, its dynamism, its globalisation strategy and its embrace of the new democratic South Africa” New “collections” rapidly followed: MTN Collection,

However relevance to the core business has become the critical criterion today. The art collection if it doesn’t con- tribute to the bottom line needs to be slotted in somewhere in the business hierarchy. As the desperate pursuit of profits be- comes ever more competitive, non-profit generating expendi- ture requires significant justi- fication. Unable to justify the continuation of the collection within a profit driven business model as marketing expense, companies are inclined to slot the art collection into their Public Affairs department or Corporate Social Investment department. However as art is an acquired taste and histori- cally enjoyed by the privileged and wealthy few, the possibil- ity that the acquisitions of artworks could be recognised as contributing to Black Eco- nomic Empowerment Balanced Score Cards, which require that 75% of the recipients of the spend be black, the role of the art collection within the CSI programme of any corporation, is difficult to justify.

Does this mean that the role of the corporation in support- ing the visual arts through collecting is threatened? Under present circumstances in South Africa this may be the

Both genuine collectors and dealer-collectors have become significant participants in the make-up the art economy in South African. Both have vested interests in the way art museums operate in this economy.

There is a third category of art market operator – the agent. Most commercial galleries in the contemporary art market

in South Africa are little more

than agents. Some more established than others. As the art market has grown, so has the number of agents. Agents may hold but don’t usualy own stock and their investment in the art market is limited and often purely speculative with relatively short-term objectives. The relative high transaction costs associated with acquir- ing art works militates against the holding of stock over an extended period of time. Con-

sequently, of all the participants

in the art markets, rapidly

increasing prices irrespective

of the long-term sustainability

of such, are crucial to their suc-

cess or failure.

A cursory look at the South

African art market over the last

five years reveals an enormous growth. The auction market provides a good barometer to

gauge what has been happen- ing. ( see below graph)

demand. Only time will tell to what extent these prices will

Auctions Houses selling South African Art

Auction House


Approx. Sales


per Annum

Stephan Welz & Co

Johannesburg& Cape Town


Strauss & Co

Johannesburg& Cape Town


Ashbeys Galleries Cape Town



Bernardi Auctioneers



Westgat Walding Auctioneers


3 - 4

Graham’s Gallery



Russel Kaplan Auctioneers


3 - 4







A little less than ten years ago

the market was dominated by

a single auction house Stephan

Welz & Co in association with Sotheby’s. Over the last three years this has change dramati- cally with 9 companies trading South African art works as

distinct categories in their

offering. Two of which trade out of London – Bonhams and Christies. There is a huge gap between the turn-overs of Stephan Welz & Co and Strauss

& Co and the other smaller

companies. Yet what this indi- cates is an enormous growth in the supply of both purchasers

as well as sellers. Some fifteen years ago when the total sales

of art works at an auction crept

over the R 1 000 000 mark this was celebrated as significant record. Results exceeding R 15 000 000 pers sale event is now common expectation. Given these figure one can hardly speak of economic crisis in the market for tradition art.

Stephan Welz & Co selected sale 07 - 08


April 2007

R 36 M


June 2007

R 23 M


August 2007

R 28 M

28 April 2008

R 39 M

29 May 2008

R 27 M


Nov 2008

R 43 M

Strauss & Co

selected Sales 2009

March 2009

R 38 M

June 2009

R 24 M

October 2009

R 38 M

By far the biggest spend- ers on these auctions have been individuals, who have

forked out considerable sums for established “modernist”

or in more popular parlance

“old masters”. Some of these buyers are genuine collectors building up significant collec- tions that now begin to rival the holdings of established public art collections. There

are also a considerable number

of speculators / agents and col-

lector-dealers in the market that have the ability to significantly influence prices. It is my

opinion that there is a compo-

nent of manipulation at work

in the market and that the rapid

price increase we have seen over the last five years are not purely the results of supply and

remain sustainable and a clear indication of stress in the

future will be to see how many of these agents survive over the next three years.

The Public Institutions – Museums

What is the position of the art museum in all of this?

From a museuological per-

spective Art Museums are of particular species. Natural history collections, which are largely amassed as a result of scientific research, are to some extent the by-product of the pursuit of knowledge. Art collections are constituted of objects, which are an end in themselves. Today, they rarely found / discovered but made for the specific purpose of ending up in a collection such as a museum. Although there is a market for natural history specimens it is insignificant in comparison to the art market. Rarely does the natural history museum have to price its in- dividual holdings and actively seek for what is supplied. The

art museum as a participant in

this market is exposed to its vi-

cissitudes and the influence of

other participants. Its ability to

tolerate these, is largely forged by the status with which the participants regard the museum and its resources to compete on the open market for prize works.

Public Art museums in South Africa are in an unenviable position. Some of them have suffered considerable decline in the past decade. Given the current market conditions none of these museums command sufficient funds to compete in

the market for quality works.

In fact most of these public institutions do not have acqui- sitions budgets of any kind and their funds for operational ex- penditure barely cover the costs of staff and maintenance. In the instance of Iziko Museums which received R 44 639 000 from the Department of Arts Culture, in 2008-2009 Annual Report, 87% of this was paid out in the form of remuneration

(13.77% to the senior manage- ment team of 11 members).


Page 03

Fortunately fiscal prudence on the part of the museum and further income from sponsor- ships, cash donations, interest received, admission fees and rental and other unspecified income brought the museums revenue to R 61 846 561.00. However the CEO remarks under capacity constraints in the report that:

“Due to insufficient funding Iziko is not able to grow its hu- man capital to its full potential

and is unable to employ the necessary staff required to fulfil

its core function activities to

the maximum potential”.

Nothing in the annual report of 2008 - 2009 makes mention

of the incapacity of the South

African National Gallery to ac- quire representative examples

of significant contemporary and historical South African art. It should be born in mind though that the government does not prescribe the manner

in which the subsidy provided

to the museum is allocated by

the museum. The executive management team of the mu- seum determines the amount set aside for acquisitions. The museum council later approves this. Given the legacy of under funding final responsibility lies with the government of the day.

figures stated on the wall of the gallery that made the most trenchant statement were:

“R30,000 was allocated to the Gallery for acquisitions that year (1980)from the national cultural budget of R16.5 mil-

lion. This was for “the preser- vation, development, fostering and extension of the culture

of the white population of the

Republic”. Other aspects of this budget are worth noting. R107,000 was spent on “the erection and maintenance of camping sites”, while another

R62,000 was given to camp- ers under the heading of “land service and other youth work”.

In those days, R30,000 could buy one tenth of a painting by the French Impressionist Claude Monet at Sotheby’s in London.”

And following:

“R 52 Billion for the Arms Deal

R 13.3 Billion in 2007 for 2010

Soccer World Cup

R 90 million for our State

President’s new security fence

In 2006 only R 141 000.00 for the Iziko South African Nation

al Gallery to purchase works of

art plus zero tax incentives for donors to our museum and

In the instance of Iziko Museums which received R 44 639 000 from the Department of Arts Culture, in 2008-2009 Annual Report, 87% of this was paid out in the form of remuneration (13.77% to the senior management team of 11 members).

In 1980 the South African National Gallery’s purchasing budget was a mere R 30 000 which led the then director Dr Raymund van Niekerk to comment in a Sunday paper as follows:

“I have reached the stage that when overseas visitors ask me what our purchasing grant is, I reply ‘nothing’. This has, I believe, a bleak dignity which would be destroyed if I told them what the amount really was”.

Funding from the state over the past two decades has been at

a level that no funds were set

aside for purchases from 1997

– 2001. This state of affairs

has not improved with the pur-

chasing budget of the museum for 2005 – 2006 being a mere

R 141 000.00. Seen against the

backdrop of prices for artworks currently this figure looks rather negligible especially

in comparison to other two

much smaller state funded art

museums in the country over the same period. William Humphreys Art Gallery R 776 966.00 and the Oliewenhuis Art Museum R 200 000.00.

To show up this dismal state of affairs in stark contrast the Na- tional Gallery, Hayden Proud compiled an exhibition in 2007 titled “Why Collect?” focuss- ing on the continuous failure of the past and present gvern- ments to provide adequate funding to the institution to pursue its core functions. The


Although the exhibition was covered in the press under a headline in the Weekender newspaper of ”National Gal- lery’s pleas for funds fall on deaf ears”, this elicited no public response from the state and very little from the general public. Amongst peers in the museum environment the exhi- bition was favourably received yet few were vocal in their support because of a fear of the recriminations that may follow.

The exhibition presented an

ideal opportunity for the issue

of the legacy of inadequate

funding of these institutions

to be debated publicly and to

solicit support. Unfortunately

this opportunity for public participation in the current

and future development of the museum was missed.

Indifference describes

adequately what the reac- tion to this exhibition and the highlighted state affairs of the museum had been. Indiffer- ence perhaps as the result of years of neglect and lack of growth which had made the part played by the museum in the South African art world less than relevant.

The present and future outlook

is no better when one considers

government policy on culture. Drawing from the latest annual report, strategic plan and recent statements by the minister of Arts and Culture published by the Department and Arts and

Culture it is clearly evident

that the state sees art as a therapeutic tool to aid healing and promote nation building. The minister had made it quite


“ In partnership with other departments, the Department of Arts and Culture will continue to support cultural projects, which promote positive values. Art can greatly help even in the rehabilitation of offenders. Art can help those who are in pain to express themselves. Art can help our nation to heal its wounds that come from so deep in our past. Art can provide a space for national contemplation and strengthen dialogue and allow us to see different ways of

thinking in order for us to bring

it all together.

In our determination to build

a People’s Culture, we are

putting more resources into programmes that will be held in community art centres, in rural

areas and in all areas devoid of the cultural infrastructure

necessary for our people to live productive cultural lives.” (Opening remarks by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Lulu Xingwana MP at the

Moral Regeneration Confer- ence Gala Dinner Birchwood Hotel 26 November 2009.)

There is little hope that the state will see the inability of the South National Gallery to acquire significant works of art as a priority. Its indifference is further illustrated by its contin- uing refusal to support a South Africa presence at the Venice Biennale and its prescription that additional funds will only be made available for acquisi- tions that support established government determined focus areas such as “Youth Develop- ment” and “Aids Awareness”.

Within the artworld the Mu- seum has always provided a stable point of reference for its participants. Acceptance into the collection of the art museum is for most artists a significant stamp of approval and for collectors, dealers, col- lector-dealers agents and critics an indication that artist has considerable potential. In this respect the art museum holds incredible power. It makes judgements about the worthi- ness and quality of the artwork and anoints it with a new status

through acquisition or the ac- ceptance of a donation.

It can however only exercise that power effectively if it has

the resources to do so – mean- ing the ability to acquire important works of historical and aesthetic value that reflect the diversity of the best quality works produced in country. Without these resources the institution’s independence may become exposed to pressures from the other participants in the artworld and its role as aesthetic arbiter compromised.

A recent example of this form

of compromise is the exhibition of Damien Hirst paintings at

the Wallace collection in Lon- don. Where the artist paid the gallery the amount of BPS 230 000.00 to host his exhibition. The critical fall out from this exhibition has been extensive.

Furthermore, an art museum that is no longer able to fulfil its core function in terms of collecting lose its relevance in the art world. Over time the collection will no longer be representative of South African art history and for contemporary audiences it will be symbolic of a vision of the past. Within the current con- text of a dynamic artworld the South African National Gallery is progressively losing its status as the pre-eminent art collect- ing institution in South Africa.

This all seems such a contra- diction in an art market flush with money. Clearly there is money around and persons with deep pockets are willing to spend considerable amounts of money on art works for their

private collections. Why are public art museums not able to

benefit in some way from this?

One perspective on this matter may be that art, which was previously not considered seriously in South Africa as an investment commodity, has become a viable alternative investment that can purport- edly be a hedge against stock market vagaries. Evidence of this is seen the world over with establishment of numerous art funds in Europe, the United States and many in India. The success of these art funds still needs to be proven. Judging by the literature that the purveyors of his funds publish, much is stated about potential returns and very few actual figures presented. There are also a number of art funds that have begun with incredible fanfare but because they couldn’t raise the projected capital envisaged, never got off the ground.

More recently auction houses and dealers in South Africa have begun to brazenly declare their wares to be investments and urge potential buyers and sellers to consider entering the

market. Like any market tim- ing is crucial. The art market boom for historically important works, still seems to be holding out, but for contemporary works with the exception of top class examples we have already begun to witness a serious pres- sure on sales and prices. For the dealer, collector, artist and speculator the art museum as adjudicator of quality and value has become secondary in importance to the results achieved by auctioneer.

Previously collectors were well inclined to donate to an institu- tion such as the South African National Gallery, as the public recognition and gratitude was of sufficient symbolic value to appease the ego and compen- sate for the loss of the potential financial windfall. However because the gallery is no longer perceived as a pre-eminent in its role and the fact that there is so little public recognition given to such donations many collectors are now more in- clined to place the work on the auction market where the price achieved and attendant public- ity, brings in more recognition for the collector’s vision and acumen than what would be obtained from such a donation to a public institution.

In addition the fact the Re- ceiver of Revenue has persisted in not considering donations to these institution as tax deductible has made donating unattractive, specially in the case where the value of the art contents of a deceased estate may now attract substantial death duties. What do public art museum such as the South African National Gallery stand to do to stem its slow progression toward irrelevance? The gov- ernment’s indifference towards culture and the visual arts in general needs to be contested vigorously and pub licly. Friends have to be found

and groomed in the corporate sector and amongst collec- tors and these incorporated as stakeholders. Art Museums in the United States have been expert at this for some time by incorporating such stakeholders in the development of museum infrastructure and collections.

To be included in the Museum of Modern Art or Metropolitan Museum of Art directors circle for example requires a substan- tial donation. Equivalent sym- bolic recognition is provided in return. Tax incentives for donations to public museums and galleries need to be lobbied for and implemented to make donating to a museum not only a public good but also an attractive fiscal consideration. Art Museums need to collabo rate more intimately not only in terms of exhibitions but also in terms of acquisitions. Perhaps its feasible that the acquisition priorities of nationally funded art museums should be set jointly, funds pooled and the resulting growing collections actively shared and exchanged.

There is little doubt in my mind that if present circumstances of under funding and govern- ment and public indifference persist public art museums in South Africa will be rapidly approaching a crisis of confi- dence and credibility. Ruskin encapsulated eloquently the importance of art to nation when he wrote:

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manu- scripts, the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last. John Ruskin (1819-1900)

What will future generations be left with, without their book of their art?

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts, the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last.

John Ruskin (1819-1900)

only trustworthy one is the last. John Ruskin (1819-1900) 16 year old mother and child: Transkaroo

16 year old mother and child: Transkaroo train journey 1981. by Jenny Altschuler. Part of her MFA body of work (Michaelis) entitled: Platform 4 : Between Forever and Never


Free State


Oliewenhuis Art Museum

20 Oct-10 Jan 2010,

David Goldblatt: Some Afrikaners Revisited

(Main Building).

28 Jan-14 March 2010, works

by Walter Meyer (Main Build- ing). 26 Nov-7 Dec, Planet Pixl (in the Reservoir).

16 Harry Smith Str.,

Bloemfontein T. 051 447 9609

Johan Smith Art Gallery A fine selection of paintings, ceramics, glass, bronze and other works of art. Windmill Centre Main Street Clarens T. 058 256 1620 www.johansmith.co.za

Blou Donki Art Gallery Contemporary Art, Steel Sculptures, Functional Art, Photography, Ceramics. Windmill Centre Main Street Clarens T. 058 256 1757 www.bloudonki.co.za




27 Nov-19 Dec,

The Summer Show. Safe Parking- Cnr of Miriam Makeba and Gwigwi Mrwebi Str., Newton C. 083 726 5906


Alliance Francaise of Johannesburg Gallery Gerard Sekoto

24 Nov-5 Dec, Messages from

Hillbrow, works by Boitumelo Project.

17 Lower Park Drive, cnr of

Kerry Rd., Parkview- opp. Zoo Lake T.011 646 1169 culture.jhb@alliance.org.za

Artist’s Proof Studio 1-11 Dec, an Artist Proof Studio Collaboration of large prints and embroideries. Inside the Bus Factory, 3 President Street, Newton T. 011 492 1278 Email: aspgallery@mweb.co.za www.artistproofstudio.org.za

Art on Paper

21 Nov-10 Dec, mixed media


by Sanel Aggenbach.

6 Jellicoe Ave., Rosebank,

a mixed media exhibition. Art-

Masks, photography by Bob

Platform on 18th


Stanley Ave., Braamfontein

Johannesburg T. 011 788 4805

works featured will be sourced

Cnoops. Opening address by


Nov-5 Dec, ‘Einde van die

Werf (Milpark),


from three top Watercolour

Judith Mason.

wêreld’, works by Robert van

T. 011 726 2234

Society artists Zanne Bezuiden-

78 Third Ave., Melville,

den Berg, Willem Snyman and


Gallery MOMO

houdt, Leonora de Lange and


011 482 9719

Fabian Oliver Wargau.

3-31 Dec, group exhibition.

Susan Orpen and their pupils.



18th Str., Rietondale,


14 Jan-8 Feb, group exhibition.

Norscot Manor Centre,

Pretoria T. 084 764 4258


(‘to or for the good fruit’),

Nov-2 Dec, Frugi Bonae

52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg

Penguin Drive T. 011 465 7934 Email: gallery@wssa.org.za

Seippel Gallery Until 12 Dec, Enter Exit, pho-


mixed media works by Kim


011 327 3247


tography exhibition by

Pretoria Art Museum

Gurney that explores relations


Pierre Crocquet.

between humankind and the

Market to Workshop


Oct-28 Feb 2010, the

environment. 5 Dec-19 Dec,

Gallery on the Square

Until 4 Dec, Short Change,

1 Oct-12 Dec, Revision, photography by Cedric Nunn

Pelmama Permanent Art

Oppitafel IX- Babette’s Feast, a

group exhibition of functional, decorative and fine art. Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood, Johannesburg

2-5 Dec, Transformation, works by Charles Morwape Shop 32 Nelson Mandela Square, Cnr. 5th & Maude Str., Sandton Central, Johannesburg.

the Market to Workshop’s 20th Anniversary exhibition with works by various tographers interrogating the subtle and often complex shifts that have

(in the Bailey Seippel Gallery). Cnr of Fox and Berea, Johannesburg T. 011 401 1421 www.seippel-gallery.com

Collection. Until 1 Dec, A selection of artworks tells a brief story of South African art from the time of the first


011 880 8802


011 784 2847

emerged in post-apartheid

Standard Bank Gallery

San artists, includes early 20th century painters, Resistance



South Africa. From 9 Dec,


Oct-5 Dec, Africa, the Sun

artists and artists of the 21st


Portfolio 09, tographic exhibi-

and Shadows, paintings by


Goodman Gallery

tion by twelve students.

Alexis Preller.


011 631 1889

century. Also on show until Dec, the Corobrik Collection,

past thirty years.


Nov-15 Dec, a variety of


Nov-18 Dec, works by


Cnr of Simmonds & Frederick

showcasing the development of

original drawings and edi- tioned prints by Anton


Jan Smuts Ave.,

Moshekwa Langa. 163 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood,

Museum Africa

Str.’s, Johannesburg, 2001

ceramics in South Africa in the

Kannemeyer. 14 Jan-13 Feb,

Johannesburg T. 011 788 1113


May-24 Dec 2010,


works by Daniel Naudé.


l’Afrique: A Tribute to Maria Stein-Lessing and Leopold

University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

T.012 344 1807/8 /www.pretoriaartmuseum.co.za

Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034,

Graham Fine Art Gallery

Spiegel; co-curated by


Nov-4 Dec, Ontwortel/



Nov-15 Dec, A Journey

Nessa Leibhammer and Natalie

Uprooted, multimedia works



Untold: Personal Evocations of


in found material, rusted

St. Lorient Art Gallery

the South African Landscape,


Bree Str., Newtown,


Nov-30 Dec, Untitled, a

CIRCA on Jellicoe

works by Scats Esterhuyse.


material, bitumen, wood, paper and charcoal by Jan van der

From 7 Nov-Mid Jan 2010,

Shop 31, Broadacres Lifestyle


011 833 5624


group exhibition, including works by Tay Dall, Isabel Le

Penelope and the Cosmos, works by Willem Boshoff and

Centre, Cnr. Valley & Cedar Rd.’s Fourways, Johannesburg


University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Kingsway

Roux, John Coumbias, Anne- Lynne Marais, Thelma van

Karel Nel. 2 Jellicoe Ave. T. 011 788 4805

T.011 465 9192 www.grahamsgallery.co.za

Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre RCHCC

campus cnr. Kingsway and Universiteits Rd., Auckland

Rensburg, Mike Hyam, Sielja Voss, Elmarie van Niekerk,

Email: gallery@circaonjel-


Nov-13 Dec, works by

Park T. 011 559 2099/2556

Amanda Nell, Martin de Kock,


Johannesburg Art Gallery

Jeff Kodesh.


Jimmy Moore, Petra Stigling,


Nov-Feb 2010, Remember-

Cnr of Glenhove Rd. & 4th

Anton Gericke and Maryna


ing the Black Consciousness

Street, Houghton, East of the




Nov-15 Jan 2010, X Store,

Movement: A Selection of

M1 T. 011 728 8088/8378 or


Nov-6 Dec, Ceramics by


Fehrsen Str., Brooklyn

a selection of products by local

Works from the JAG


011 728 8378,

Caroline Schulz Vieira

Circle, Brooklyn, Pretoria

and international designers.

Collection, including artists

Email: hazelc@greatpark.

Upstairs@Bamboo, cnr of


021 460 0284

T 68 Juta Str., Braamfontein T.

such as Charles Nkosi and


9th Str. & Rustenburg Rd.,



023 0336

John Muafangejo.

Melville, Johannesburg


Also exhibiting is ‘Contours:

Resolution Gallery


082 401 4213

UNISA Art Gallery

David Brown Fine Art

12 Nov-11 Dec, Back from

Brussels, works by

Suzy Davidson.

39 Keyes Ave., off Jellicoe,

Rosebank, Johannesburg

T. 011 788 4435


David Krut Projects

28 Nov-25 Jan 2010, Journey,

an exhibition of paintings,

drawings and artist’s books by Gail Behrmann.

140 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood,

Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627 www.davidkrutpublishing.com

Everard Read Gallery JHB

10 Dec- Jan 2010, works by

Phillemon Hlungwani.

6 Stories/6 Hours/6 Artists’, a condensed presentation of

documentation done by artists from six different countries:

Donna Kukama (RSA), Lucy Azubuike (Nigeria), Nicolas Simo (Cameroon),

Jimmy Ogonga (Kenya), Marian Kunonga (Zimbabwe/ Malawi) and Sonia Sultuane Mozambique). This project forms part of a larger project, dubbed Multipistes (www.multipistes.org). King George Str., Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3130 Email: khwezig@joburg.org.za www.joburg.org.za

Manor Gallery

6 Nov-7 Dec, annual sale.

22-30 Jan 2010, New Dawns,

Until Feb 2010, Fifteen years after, works by Sam Nhlengethwa.

142 Jan Smuts Ave., Parkwood,

Johannesburg T. 011 880 4054 www.resolutiongallery.com

Rooke Gallery

17 Sep-1 Dec, The Unseen

Works, a rare collection of unseen works by two respective iconic artists, Mark Kanne- meyer: The Berlin paintings,

and Roger Ballen:

The vintage tographs By Appointment, The New- town, 37 Quinn Str., Newtown, Johannesburg T. 072 658 0762 www.rookegallery.co.za

Sally Thompson Gallery 8 Nov-15 Dec, Unveiling Soul


Alette Wessels Kunskamer

Exhibition of Old Masters and selected leading contemporary artists.

Maroelana Centre, Maroelana. GPS : S25º 46.748 EO28º



012 346 0728


084 589 0711


Cameo Framers and Trent Gallery

25 Nov-22 Dec, Wearable Art/

Pret-a-Porter, a fun exhibition

of wearable art. 198 Long Str., Pretoria

T. 012 460 5497

28 Nov-22 Jan 2010, an exhibi-

tion by final year visual arts students. Theo van Wijk Building, Gold- fields entrance, 5th floor. Unisa Campus, Pretoria T.012 429 6823 E-mail: hattif@unisa.ac.za www.unisa.ac.za/gallery


The Loop Art Foundry &

Sculpture Gallery Casterbridge Complex Corner R40 and Numbi Roads White River

T. 013 751 2435





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Page 05

- JANUARY 2010 ALEX DODD COLUMN | ART LEADER Page 05 Alex Dodd I am delighted
- JANUARY 2010 ALEX DODD COLUMN | ART LEADER Page 05 Alex Dodd I am delighted

Alex Dodd

I am delighted to sing out through my own imaginary vuvuzela (which sounds more like distant whalesong than amplified bullfrogs on heat) that my year of art loving (and, okay, some loathing) has ended with a sublime burst of inner fireworks rather than a damp fizzle. I had Brett Murray to thank for dispelling the dark spell of imminent despair cast over the art world by the black plague of banking at the shaky outset of 2009. It was his wildly satirical, immaculately executed Goodman Gallery solo, Crocodile Tears, in Febru- ary this year, that signalled the start of this ballsy, steadfast year of the ox.

It was a year in which some key stars in our local constel- lation, around which many of us had grown used to gently orbiting, tumbled out of our known galaxy, leaving us feel- ing somewhat like the crew of Star Trek, navigating our way through an increasingly unknowable future fogged up with interstellar clouds. First

it was Warren Siebrits Modern

and Contemporary, then it was Bell-Roberts, then it was the quarterly arts publication, Business Day Art that ignited into fiery exhalation… But as known bodies imploded into the stratosphere, bold new structures took shape, with Arts on Main proving to be a gravi- tational system beyond our boldest predictions and Circa touching down on the corner of Jellicoe and Jan Smuts like some elegant spaceship from the beyond.

But back on planet earth, I have Sanell Aggenbach to thank for

a suitably charged closure to

this most strangely nebulous

of years. Her Graceland show, currently on at Art on Paper,

is one of those exhibitions you

just want to roll up and take home with you. For it’s not one

work or the other that makes the logic of the show hum through you; it’s the sublimely sensuous intertextuality that runs through the works render- ing them part of a strange new mythology, that you half know and half don’t. The mythology

of this show, has to do with be- ing Afrikaans, of lost tribes and fading ideologies, prohibited, poisoned nostalgia, badass tattoos, Gert Vlok Nel lyrics, archaic books retrieved from church sales, brandy & Coke, Elvis, Rian Malan’s treacher- ous heart, the mute ghosts of ex-prime-ministers, cultural ectoplasm and painted snap- shots of the tragically turbulent Ingrid Jonker…

On entering Art on Paper gal- lery, you encounter a small, gold-framed snapshot of the artist in the arms of an Elvis impersonator. The photo- graph, I am told, was taken on Saint Marks Square in New York, during Aggenbach and Murray’s recent Ampersand Foundation visit. And the idea of Elvis, of Graceland – an imaginary hyper-reality con- jured by the machines of pop culture – is one that ghosts the subtext of this show. Next up is a marble headstone engraved with the words: ‘Ons is Grace- landloos Koos, Geen Memphis Tennessee vir ons nie’. [We’re

bereft of a Graceland, Koos. There’s no Memphis Tennessee for us.] This note of deathly black humour is a paradoxical- ly generative entrée to a show spiked with the awkward para- doxes of a culture in demise and post-modern reinvention all at once.

It’s hard to know which work to go to first, because they are all crying out for attention at once. So I will follow my senses to the voluptuous naked breasts painted in pale creamy oil paint. These are the breasts you want to lay your head down on for the dreamiest of

bedtime stories, the breasts that offer up the yearning world’s wet dream of mother’s milk. The breasts men dream of

coming home to… Painted in curvy cursive on the left breast is the word, Grace, and on the right, the word, land. The work is aptly titled ‘Haven’. Say no more.

The sensuousness of the female form is taken up again in a work, entitled Atlantis, which ingeniously conjures both the

lost world beneath the sea (another play on Arcadian worlds beyond our grasp), and the township in the (un)fair Cape, the same (un)fair Cape originally plundered by maritime merchants of the Dutch East India Company, the world’s first mega-corporation. Tatooed across the naked body of a woman in Delft-like blue are an assembly of words and images: ‘bokkie’, ‘my traitor’s heart’, ‘don’t be cruel’, ships in full sail, skull and crossbones, swallows in flight, sailor’s rope… Interestingly, Delft ceramics were styled on the imported Chinese porcelain of the 17th century and the Dutch port had an early start in this medium because it was a home port of the Dutch East India Company. So the Delft tattoos on this body speak about a history of colonialism as it plays out in present tense Cape Town.

But it was the books that re- ally stole my heart. Lined up on wooden shelf is a selec- tion of old fabric covered and gold embossed books of the kind you would find in a second hand store. Unfurling from each book is a strand of fuschia-coloured satin ribbon tumbling to the floor in a spa- ghetti-like tangle (another mo- tif that runs through the show). Each strand of ribbon marks a page in each book that has been altered and adorned by the art- ist using ink, gold leafed paper, watercolour, ballpoint pen… And each book’s adornment tells a story of its own, with the artist, in a sense, writing back to the author. Take for example a book entitled Old Ivory and Roses… The ribbon marks a page featuring tographs of Jan Smuts, JBM Hertzog and Louis Botha. ‘Three members of the Pretoria Club, all great leaders of the Boer forces in the South African War, became prime ministers of South Africa,’ reads the caption. On the facing page, Aggenbach has drawn a simple pen-and-ink portrait of Jacob Zuma, and in the corner of the page, she has written:

‘Hello Boys!’ (Post Polok- wane). And that’s the gem I uncovered in just one of about

forty books that make up this single artwork.

The spaghetti repeats in the form of a kind of ectoplasm spewing forth from the mouth of the tapestry portrait of what looks like a university beauty queen. Of course, in arch pop style, the ectoplasm is pure pop-star gold. Just about every work on this show made my head rush – from the portraits of three former prime ministers with a simple fold in the page muting them in a manner that perfectly conjures the vio- lence of silence, to the Esquire magazine cover embellished with an image of a youthful Rian Malan.

It’s a show that seems to be charged with zeitgeist timing, running at the same time as the recent release of Rian Malan’s new book, Resident Alien, and on the heels of Antjie Krog’s recent heartrending speech as part of the Goethe-Institut’s Cracking Walls conference, where she made a plea for Afrikaners to be allowed the cultural space to deal with their own complex psyches, to honour their own ances- tors. Arguing that the Bok van Blerk song, De La Rey, had been grossly misread by the popular media, which had jumped on a predictably reac- tive bandwagon whipping up a misguided storm of contro- versy around the idea that the song was a rallying cry for rightwing revivalism. I thought she made a beautiful point, but many in the audience seemed to be strangely ‘wounded’ and ‘disheartened’ by her words, failing in my eyes to grasp the subtlety and power of her argu- ment. Her new book, Begging to be Black, is another I’ll be packing in my old kit bag as I skip this town for the summer solstice. But before I do, I’ll be returning to Art on Paper to soak up Sanell Aggenbach’s Graceland, which manages to be deeply sensuous and a quietly imploding bomb of cultural complexity all at once. Who could ask for more?

Image: Sanell Aggenbach:

Graceland, To be seen at AOP Gallery, Jhb



Elfriede Dreyer

academic, gallerist and artist

By Michael Coulson

When I used to write regular reviews of Gauteng art shows, I spent an inordinate amount of time driving along Pretoria’s interminable Charles St, visit- ing an assortment of galleries whose shortlivedness (if there is such a word) may have been related to the fact that they all seemed to specialise in purple mountains and orange skies. Then, amazingly, in 2005 it all changed: a new venue ap- peared, in an expensively but tastefully remodelled house, that showed genuinely chal- lenging and original modern art.

If you haven’t already guessed, it was the Fried Gallery, run by the formidable Elfriede Dreyer. And it still exists, even if the downturn in the art market and the other demands on Dreyer’s time have forced a rethink of how it operates. Dreyer also often ponders on how the gallery would have done had it been sited in Jo’burg or Cape Town, which may have been

more receptive to her approach, but says she hasn’t come to any conclusion. It can’t be ideal to run a gallery by remote control, so Dreyer has decided to cut back the days Fried opens to Friday to Sunday. And while she wants to maintain the strong educational focus the gallery has devel- oped, and continue to encour- age school visits, courses will also be restricted to Saturdays only. Dreyer admits that she considered closing down, but describes this restructuring as a


gallery going, but free up more

time for herself.

that will keep the

Exhibition policy poses a di- lemma. She says that in recent shows, it’s been the established artists, not the most affordable, who’ve sold best. So while she still wants to showcase emerg- ing artists, they’ll have to be the best of breed. As she says, there’s no point in being cut- ting-edge or avant garde if you don’t sell. A gallery’s priority may not be commercial, but you have to sell to survive. The first show under the new policy, opening in February, will be a group of female art- ists, under the title Bodies in Transition. Other elements of the new policy include a longer run – five weeks instead of three – and she plans to pro- duce digital catalogues.

Dreyer was a force in the art world long before she opened Fried, as one of SA’s leading art historians, despite be- ing, in the art context, a slow developer. She first studied language and philosophy at Pretoria, only completing her first degree in art through Unisa at the age of 35. By this stage contemporaries like Penny Siopis were established artists, and though she regrets that they had a head start, she feels that

the interdisciplinary approach developed by her study path had its compensations.

Her first academic appoint- ment, at Unisa, was in the theory of fine art, and though she’s interested in creating art and best known as an art historian, she considers herself primarily as a theoretician – a field she says many academics don’t want to teach – con- cerned also with how art over- laps into other areas, like media studies and technology. She took a course in multimedia at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, encouraged by Unisa, which was develop- ing an undergraduate course in multimedia studied. This has been so successful that Unisa now has roughly the same number of undergraduates in multimedia and fine art.

In 1997, after negotiations with outside candidates collapsed, she unexpectedly and some- what reluctantly found herself asked to take over as head of the department of visual arts & art history at Unisa, for

a four-year spell. “I almost

disappeared from the art scene and became an administra- tor.” That expired in 2001, and then in 2003 she moved to the University of Pretoria as a full-time associate professor. The house in Charles St was bought as an investment, and

what was originally intended to be a relatively small exhibition space specialising in contem- porary art like Topsy just grew and grew. Given that academia, which was itself steadily becoming more demanding, has always been her priority, the gallery was simply becoming all-de- vouring. Of course, the fact that the art market had, in her own word, “imploded”, while increasingly buyers are going direct to artists, were also factors.

If the hoped-for more time for

self materialises, one thing she wants to get back to is creating

her own art. She exhibited quite widely as a student, and later in a Jo’burg Biennale and one of the Kebbles, as well as participating in three or four group shows a year until that crucial year 1997. She produced mixed-media paint- ings, collages, and used found objects.

Since then, academic and commercial pressures have left little time to create, though she admits to feeling “quite chuffed” that she sold a few works in Fried’s latest group show.

Multiple roles are not uncom- mon in the art world, especially in a relatively small community like SA. But few have made such a broad impact as Dreyer, and if her career right now is in a sense at a crossroads, you can bet that however it develops, she will remain a force to be reckoned with.




Eastern Cape

East London

Ann Bryant Art Gallery

26 Nov-12 Dec, East London

Fine Art Society Annual Exhibi-

tion (Main Gallery). 19 Nov-5 Dec, solo exhibition with oil on canvas by Chanelle Staude (Coach House Café).

9 St Marks Rd., Southernwood,

East London T. 043 722 4044 annbryant@intekom.co.za www.annbryant.co.za

Port Elizabeth

Alliance Française

24 Nov-10 Dec, ‘LAND-

SCAPES-COEGA’, paintings by

landscape artist Lez Dor.


Mackay Str., Richmond Hill


041 585 7889 Email: assist-


Montage Gallery

26 Nov-23 Dec, new works by

Donvé Branch and Anthony Harris.

59 Main Rd., Walmer, Nelson

Mandela Bay T. 041 581 2893


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum 4 Dec-24 Jan 2010, the annual ‘Who’s who and what’s new’ exhibition.


Park Drive, Port Elizabeth


041 506 2000


Northern Cape


William Humphreys Art Gal- lery From Nov 1, a number of exhibitions from the permanent collection will be on display. These include a selection of new acquisitions of contemporary SA Artists. Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent, Kimberley T. 053 831 1724 www.museumsnc.co.za

Western Cape

Cape Town

34 Long

15 Dec-16 Jan 2010, WATER, a

solo exhibition by Willie Bester.


Long Str., Cape Town


021 426 4594


Alliance Française

16 Nov-8 Dec, ‘Difference’

mixed media by Veronica

Wilkinson exploring power, humanity and art. 155 Loop Str., Cape Town.

T. 021 4235699


Association for Visual Arts (AVA)

30 Nov-07 Jan 2010, Resolu-

tion- the power of innuendo, a group tographic exhibition that focuses on the suggestion, as opposed to the spectacle of violence. Includes works by Lien Botha, Zanele Muholi,

Guy Tillim, Jo Ratcliffe, Jürgen Schadeberg, and many more.


Church Str., Cape Town


021 424 7436


Atlantic Art Gallery A permanent display showcas-

ing leading contemporary South

G2 Art G2 provides a diverse range of original contemporary art by

isiwa e Mahlweni (The Healing Process), an exhibition of new works by Phillemon Hlungwani.

Lindy van Niekerk Art Gallery Exhibition of SA’s leading

African artists.

South African artists to discern-


Dec-16 Jan 2010, Notions



Wale Street Cape Town,

ing buyers.


Being/Moments of Being,


Kommandeur Rd,


021 423 5775

The work includes painting,

works by Jill Trappler. 18 Dec-7

Welgemoed, Belville


sculpture, ceramics, photogra-

Jan 2010, video installation by


021 913 7204/5

Blank Projects

phy and mixed media.

Helen Benigson.



Dec-8 Jan 2010, Babel Se-

Exhibitions are held during

Cecil Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town

ries, by Candice Breitz consists

the year and information is


021 685 5686

Michael Stevenson

of seven constantly stuttering

available on the website or the



DVD loops.

Facebook Group.


Nov-16 Jan 2010, Summer


The South African Print Gallery

Sat 12 Dec-10 Jan 2010, Miles Away: from Baardskerdersbos

and back, new woodblocks by Joshua Miles.

107 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock,

Cape Town, T. 021 462 6851


113-115 Sir Lowry Rd.,


Shortmarket Str. between

Iziko South African National

2009/10: Projects, with works

These Four Walls Fine Art

Woodstock T.072 1989 221

Loop Str. and Bree Str.


by Jane Alexander, Retha




021 424 7169


Dec-28 Feb 2010, Dada

Erasmus, Sabelo Mlangeni,

15-30 Jan 2010, works by An-

Email: di@g2art.co.za

South?, South African art-

Tom Cullberg, Guy Tillim,

gela Briggs.

Cape Gallery


works from the 1960’s to the

Berni Searle, Willen Boshoff,


Lower Main Rd, Observa-


Nov-5 Dec, Work in Progress,

present are exhibited alongside

Dineo Seshee Bopape, Tracy

tory T. 021 447 7393

oil paintings by Lesley Char- nock. 29 Nov-5 Dec, sculptures

Gallery F Contemporary and archival


collection of artworks and

publications by historical Dada

Payne, Andrew Putter and Zanele Muholi. 21 Jan-6 March


by Caroline van der Merwe.

South African Art.

artists. 26 Nov-28 Feb 2010,

2010, mixed media works by

Urban Contemporary Art


Dec-2 Jan 2010, works by


Long Str., Cape Town

‘Strengths and Convictions:

Steven Cohen and paintings by


Nov-12 Dec, no | thing,

David Kuijers and glass beads


021 422 5246

The Life and Times of the South

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Also

works by Bronwyn Lace, Greg

by Ingrid de Haast.


African Nobel Peace Prize

on exhibition is Black & White

Streak, Ricky Burnett, Righard


Church Str., Cape Town

Laureates’, films, tographs and

Hemisphere, an installation by

Kapp and Trasi Henen. 16 Dec-


021 423 5309

Gill Allderman Gallery

contemporary works of art by

Thomas Hirschhorn as part of


Jan 2010, Summer Salon.


From 8 Dec, Exhibition # 25,

South African and international

the FOREX series.


Lower Main Rd, Observa-

works by Gill Cowen, Sue


Ground Floor, Buchanan

tory, Cape Town

Cape Town School of

Greeff, Donna McKellar, Trudi

Government Ave., Company’s

Building, 160 Sir Lowry Rd,


021 447 4132,


From 3 Dec, Student exhibition.

McPherson, Marcelle Sprong and Sam Sterley.

Garden T. 021 467 4660, www.iziko.org.za

Cape Town T. 021 462 1500 www.michaelstevenson.com


photography by beginner and


Main Rd, Kenilworth

What if the World…

intermediate students.


083 556 2540

Iziko Museums of Cape Town

Raw Vision Gallery

1 Dec-23 Jan 2010, Holiday,

4th Flr., 62 Roeland Str.

Email: gallery@new.co.za


Dec-13 March 2010, Wildlife


Nov-21 Dec, Out the Rabbit


group exhibition includ-

T. 021 465 2152

Email: info@ctsp.co.za www.ctsp.co.za

Carmel Art Dealers in Fine art, exclusive

distributers of Pieter van der

Westhuizen etchings.

66 Vineyard Rd., corner Caven-

dish Str., Claremont T.021 671 6601 Constantia Village Shopping

Centre, Main Rd., Constantia

T. 021 794 6262

Christopher MǾller Art Dealers in South African

contemporary art and South African masters.


Church Str., Cape Town


021 439 3517


Goodman Gallery, Cape

12 Nov-12 Dec, Morbid

Appetites, works by Frances Goodman. This exhibition is an objective study in sound, text

and sculpture of what happens to the human condition when a

psychological line is crossed.

19 Dec-16 Jan 2010, The Mir-

ror Stage, a solo exhibition of

installations and sculptures by

internationally acclaimed Brit-

ish artist Gavin Turk. 3rd Floor, Fairweather House,

176 Sir Lowry Rd., Woodstock,

Cape Town T. 021 462 7573/4, www.goodmangallerycape.com

Greatmore Art Studios

3-17 Dec, African Time, a curated exhibition that portrays

tographer of the Year 2009, an international showcase for the

very best photography featuring natural subjects. 9 Nov-10 Jan 2010, Not Alone- an interna- tional project of ‘make art/stop AIDS’ (at the Castle of Good Hope). South African artists include Clive van den Berg,

William Kentridge, Churchill Madikida, Langa Magwa, Pene- lope Siopis, Gideon Mendel and others. For further info contact Esther Esmyol T. 021 464 1262

Email: eesmyol@iziko.org.za

João Ferreira Gallery

4 Nov-12 Dec, REGISTRA-

TION, works by Brett Murray,

Georgina Gatrix, Hentie van der Merwe, Justin Fiske, Liza



creative interpretation of

Grobler, Michael Taylor, Ruan

David Porter Antiques Buyers and sellers of South

time, travelling exchange and interconnection between artists.

Hoffmann, Sanell Aggenbach and Tom Cullberg.

African art

Participating artists include Tim


Loop Str., Cape Town,


021 6830580/083 452 5862

Chalk, Khusi Seremane, Vaun


021 423 5403


Cornell, Noncedo Gxekwa, and



many more.

Erdmann Contemporary /

47-49 Greatmore Str., Woodstock, Cape Town

Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery

Photographers Gallery


021 447 9699


Nov-16 Jan 2010, ‘The Pigs

31 Oct-5 Dec, While you were

sleeping, includes large paint- ings, original works on paper, monotypes and lithographs by

Karlien de Villiers. 5 Dec-30 Jan 2010, Fifty, Sixty, Seventy,

Eighty, Ninety, R.I.P, a group

exhibition with works by Mark Hipper, Norman Catharine, Jan Neethling, Peter Clarke, Robert

Hodgins and Walter Battiss. 30

Jan 2010-27 Feb, photography exhibition by Erik Chevalier.

Email: info@greatmore.org www.greatmoreart.org

Infin Art Gallery

A gallery of work by local

artists. Wolfe Street Chelsea Wynberg T. 021 761 2816 and Buitengracht Str. Cape Town

T. 021 423 2090


iArt Gallery 11-Nov-9 Dec, Tactility: denial

Are Coming’, an exhibition of bronze sculptures by Warrick Kemp. In-Fin-Art Building, Upper

Buitengracht Str., Cape Town,

T. 021 423 6075/082 5664631


Jossi Mendle

19 Nov-10 Dec, Sculpture

Exhibition by Jossi Mendle.

3rd Floor, The Spearhead Build- ing (next to Investec Bldg.)

Hole, an exhibition of mixed media paintings, etchings, monotypes and multiple prints

by Toni Ann Ballenden. In this exhibition one explores how the tapestries of Ballenden’s life are multilayered and filled with metars and symbolism.

89 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock,



Rose Korber

Powerful new charcoal and pastel drawings by Richard Smith, as well as recent works on paper by William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and

Ryan Arenson.

48 Sedgemoor Rd, Camps Bay,

Cape Town T. 021 438 9152 Email: roskorb@icon.co.za


Rust-en-Vrede Gallery

15 Nov-12 Dec, Ceramics SA

Regional 2009, an exhibition

of ceramic works by various ceramicists.


Wellington Rd, Durbanville


021 976 4691


Salon91 Contemporary 1 Dec-14 Jan 2010, Sirens, new paintings and video work by Jake Aikman (in association

with SMAC gallery).20 Jan-20 Feb 2010, Spookasem, a group exhibition of works by female artists from a range of creative

backgrounds, across various media (fine art, street art, illustration).

91 Kloof Str., Gardens,


Shortmarket Str., Cape Town

and desire, bronze sculptures by


Hans Strijdom Ave., Fore-

Cape Town 021 424 6930


021 422 2762

Cobus Haupt.

shore, Cape Town.




Nov-9 Dec, ‘Cocks, asses,


Everard Read Gallery - Cape Town From 1 Dec, Summer at Ev-

erard Read, works by various


3 Portswood Rd., V&A Water- front T. 021 418 4527


&…’ mixed media works by Wilma Cruise. 1-12 Dec, Of-

ficial Art Poster Edition 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa TM. 15 Dec-15 Jan 2010, Summer in the City.

71 Loop Str. T. 021 424 5150


Kalk Bay Modern From 11 Nov-6 Dec, works by Peter Clarke. 1st Floor, Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Rd, Kalk Bay.

T.021 788 6571 Email: kbmodern@iafrica.com www.kalkbaymodern.com

South African Museum

25 Jul-Mar 2010, Subtle

Thresholds, the representational taxonomies of disease, a mixed media show curated by Fritha Langerman.

25 Queen Victoria Str.,

Cape Town T. 021 481 3800


ing works by emerging South African artists Cameron Platter, Georgina Gratix, Athi Patra Ruga, Julia Clark, Dan Halter, Stuart Bird and Zander Blom. First floor, 208 Albert Rd, Woodstock T. 021 448 1438 www.whatiftheworld.com


10 Dec-8 Jan 2010, works by

Richard Scott, Marlise Keith and more. Worldart will be showing how contemporary artists pay tribute to their forerunners by revisiting both the fairground and the Pop Art

genre in a series of exciting new


54 Church Street Cape Town

CBD T. 021 423 3075 www.worldart.co.za


Galerie L’ Art

A permanent exhibition of old


Shop no 3, The Ivy, Kruger Str., Franschhoek T. 021 876 2497 www.galart.co.za

Gallery Grande Provence

15 Nov-13 Jan 2010, Angels

IV, annual group exhibition of

paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass and jewellery by selected SA artists. Main Rd, Franschhoek

T. 021 876 8600



Strydom Gallery From 21 Nov, GEORGE 41, Strydom Gallery’s 41st summer

exhibition of South African art-a cross-section of selected works. The exhibition will be opened by Jan Coetzee, professor of soci- ology at Rhodes University.


Market Str., George


044 874 4027



iArt Gallery Wembley



2 Dec-13 Jan 2010, new work

Kunst House

Focus Contemporary, Fine Young Art

by Walter Meyer. Wembley Square, Gardens,

Dec-9 Jan 2010, paintings and sculptures by Grant Preston.


South Gallery Showcasing creativity from


Nov-15 Jan 2010, African


Kloof Str., Gardens

Kwazulu-Natal including Ard-

origami, works by Karin Miller.

Cape Town T. 021 424 5150 www.iart.co.za


021 422 1255

more Ceramic Art.


Long Str., Cape Town



Fairweather House, 176 Sir


021 419 8888,

Irma Stern Museum

Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Ground



Nov-5 Dec, Tshungulo Wuy-

Floor. T. 021 465 4672 Email:



Page 07


Hout Street Gallery

Specialists in South African Fine Art. The Gallery also offers a range of ceramics, creative jewellery, glass, crafts and functional art.

270 Main Str., Paarl,



Off the Wall Contemporary

18 Nov-31 Jan 2010, Annual

Artwork Sale.

171 Main Rd, Paarl

T. 021 872 8648





Art on 5 Permanent exhibition of paint- ings and ceramics by Maryna de Witt, Pera Schillings, and Karen Kieviet.

7b Andringa Str., Stellenbosch

T. 021 887 7234

Dorp Straat Galery

28 Nov-31 Dec, Let Them Eat

Cake, with works by Gabby Raaff, Sarah Pratt, Tracy Lynch, Conrad Botes, Kurt Pio, Jane Eppel, Frank van Reenen and Tracy Payne. Also until the 31 Dec, the annual Christmas Group Exhibition, with works by Kelly John Gough, Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, Strijdom van der Merwe, Greg Lourens, Alan Gray, Cornelia Stoop, Danelle Janse van Rensburg and Louis Nel. Church Str., Stellenbosch

T. 021 887 2256


Glen Carlou Estate From 3 0ct, on exhibition

is The Hess Art Collection,

including works by Deryck

Healey, Ouattara Watts and Andy Goldsworthy. Simondium Rd, Klapmuts

T. 021 875 5314


Red Black and White

9 Dec-30 Jan 2010, Verneuk-

pan, a collaboration by artists Johann Slee, Strijdom van der Merwe, Rene Slee, Kabous Meiring and Jo-Marie Rabe. 5a Distillery Rd, Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch.

T. 021 886 6281


Rupert Museum From 3 Oct, The Rodin Exhibi- tion, bronze sculptures; perma-

nent collection of 20th Century South African Art. Stellentia Ave., Stellenbosch

T. 021 888 3344


Sasol Art Museum

4 Nov-30 Jan 2010, Glimpses

from the Past, works by Charles Davidson Bell (1813- 1882) and Solomon Caesar Malan (1812-1894).

52 Ryneveld Str., Stellenbosch

T. 021 808 3029

SMAC Art Gallery

6 Dec-25 Feb 2010,

a retrospective exhibition by

Erik Laubscher De Wet Centre, Church Street,

Stellenbosch T. 021 887 3607 www.smacgallery.com

US Art Gallery

19 Nov-9 Jan 2010, paintings

by Pauline Gutter. Cnr. Dorp & Bird Street, Stel- lenbosch T. 021 808 3524

Email: corliah@sun.ac.za


Knysna Fine Art

20 Nov-3 Dec, RIFT (Portraits

of Ethiopia), black and white

photography by Glen Green.

4-21 Dec, No Strings Attached, mixed media works by

Hannalie Tauté.

8 Grey Str., Knysna, T.044 382 5107



Sculpture Garden and Studio Gallery From 1 Dec, works by Sheena Ridley. Grabouw, Elgin

T. 021 859 2595

C. 083 589 2881



Abalone Gallery 1 Dec-31 Jan 2010, a group ex- hibition by distinguished artists including John Clarke, Christo Coetzee, Bill Davis, Hannes Harrs, Braam Kruger, Elzaby Laubscher, Judith Mason, Fred Schimmel, Cecil and Pippa Skotnes.

2 Harbour Rd, The Courtyard, Hermanus. T. 028 313 2935 www.abalonegallery.co.za

The Old Harbour Gallery An exhibition of art and sculpture. No.4 Warrington Place, Harbour Rd, Hermanus

T. 028 313 2751 / 0822595515


Philip Harper Galleries Specialising in South African

old masters and select contem- porary artists. Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Rd, Hermanus T. 028 312 4836



Red Corridor Gallery Sculpture by Rudi Neuland, paintings by Leszek Skurski

and textile objects by Joanna Skurska.


Main Rd, L’Agulhas 7287


028 435 7503.


com www.capeagulhas-art- house.com www.redcorridor-


Be sure to E-mail us with your news and events at:





Or call our newsdesk at: 021 424 7733

show@arttimes.co.za Or call our newsdesk at: 021 424 7733 Melvyn Minnaar The Artful Viewer Tricky art

Melvyn Minnaar

The Artful Viewer

Tricky art times

One would think that all art is

in a predicament. A lot of the

blather on arty blogs high and low, serious and silly, seems

to be concerned with the idea

that fewer parvenu art collec- tor/buyers (due to the capitalist crash) out there means art will go down the drain; as if money

is the be-all and end-all.

While the Faustian bargain

between ‘art’ and ‘investment’

is ever destined to be a tricky,

even dangerous one, the good news is that art often needs a bit of a social shake-up to be revitalised. Maybe the fact that a lot of those upstart, status-seeking supporters of expensive art have found their credit cards grounded means real artists can get back to their proper day jobs. And stop playing to that price-tag audience.

With the year turning around, it’s a good time to check out whether its happening and who’s doing that, or not.

A good place to start is the

various art school end-of-year shows around the Cape. With many aspiring artists hoping that the wonderful world out there will welcome them, their talent and inventions, it is always interesting to check out their strategies on site.

The last few years have seen quite a few of the top art school performers jumping (or being lured) straight into the professional gallery ambit. Whether this is necessarily good or bad for a youngster who often needs to collect a

few battle scars in the art sur- vival challenge is not certain, but, at the same time one has

to compliment the local galler-

ies also when they introduce new artists for polishing their

professional presentations.

To connect (good) art with the public (and not only those with easy money to spent) galleries need to pull out the stops in terms of communica- tion. Thankfully we have seen a great improvement in im- portant tools like catalogues, signage and distribution of information. (Now they just need to engage with the print and other media management

to claim coverage.)

In this sense, a visit to galler- ies like Michael Stevenson, Goodman Cape and What- iftheworld is usually a pleas- ant, informative affair. (And free, unlike the Iziko crowd who charges entrance fees.)

But even the smaller, newer spaces like Robin Jones’ UCA, Guto Bussab’s Muti and Monique du Preez’s Salon 91 - where the more dynamic, adventurous art is found these days - offer good packages of

information and back-up. (It is interesting how vital up-to- date websites have become in

this business.)

The past year, of course, saw the sad demise of the Bell- Roberts gallery. (It also had the Goodman change hands, and the curious departure from that gallery of expert Emma Bedford.) But 2009 also

brought along the new: Blank Projects finally moved to the Woodstock ‘art precinct’,

next to where Gabriel Clark- Brown’s nifty print gallery opened. Aptly placed right opposite a certain arty group’s drinking hole, is the Young- Blackman gallery, where the first video installations made

a bold public appearance,

stunning the bergies on the


Art reaching outside of the gallery is getting a good presence in the Mother city. Although the non-biennale Cape 09 didn’t quite effec-

tively connect with the public,

it had a lot going for it in

terms of curatorial processes. (Pity about the stranglehold of money.) The Spier festival of Infecting the City also proved to be a wow. (The ‘imported’ artists’ contributions proved to be the dullest bit.) Then there was Richard Mason’s awe- some Carbonage installation last month in that godfor- saken Barrack street building. Purposely working outside the commercial gallery set-up, Mason managed to activate edgy emotional and cerebral responses from the public who dared a visit.

It is this kind of rush of the

senses and mind that is all to often absent in the cool-cool world of formal galleries, mu- seums and, heaven help, those hyped-up art auctions with their canapéd previews.

On what the year of the football fest (and its plethora of kitsch-for-sale) holds, the lest said the better. After this year of biennales (some dull beyond belief), the next will see the usual art fairs (a somewhat chastened Joburg in March) and museum shows. Of course, 2010 should have

been the big year for South African art, but we all know that the officials in charge are useless. (The story about the official invitation to this year’s Venice biennale that got lost, sabotaged, or simply ignored must still be told.)

We at The South African Art Times wish all our readers

a blessed Christmas and

a prosperous New Year !


Thelma Skotnes

and a prosperous New Year ! OBITUARY Thelma Skotnes Thelma, Cecil and Pippa Skotnes Photo Booksa.

Thelma, Cecil and Pippa Skotnes Photo Booksa.

As this issue went to press we learnt with great sadness of the passing of Thelma Skotnes, the widow of Cecil Skotnes. Thelma Skotnes (née Carter) married Cecil in 1951 and was intimately involved in all his activities from that time. A biography of Cecil on the Cecil Skotnes blog (http://cecilskotnes.blogspot.com) describes her thus at the time of their marriage: ‘a lovely, viva- cious woman, ex-convent girl with a nineteen inch waist who had flair, deep intelligence and incomparable warmth, and was daring enough to marry a man who wanted to be an artist with no sure prospects, and keep the home fires burning.’ In Johannesburg her home became a meeting place and centre for artists and other crea- tive people. Her superb efforts as an archivist were revealed in the 2007/8 exhibition Cecil Skotnes: A Private View. Images from the Archive of Cecil and Thelma Skotnes.

A full obituary will appear in the next issue of SA Art Times.

Summer Salons

The New Year Baardskeerdersbos Art Route

Cape Overberg

9 and 10 January 2010


9 and 10 January 2010 www.baardskeerdersbosartroute.com Baardskeerdersbos is a unique settlement, neither farm nor

Baardskeerdersbos is a unique settlement, neither farm nor dorp, untidily strewn across a fertile valley south of Stanford. Today the artists may even out- number the farmers, however with three pubs and a drank- winkel, the mandatory NGKerk for rinsing out the night before, one thing all the locals have in common is knowing how to have a good time. The Baardskeerdersbos Art Route only takes place three times annually in autumn, spring and new year, where

over a dozen artists open their studios, homes, and drafty stoeps to the meandering visi- tor. Maps are available at gal- leries or from www.baardskeer- dersbosartroute.com Although an easy day trip from the city, a wide range of accommoda- tion options exist in the area, and the Stanford Tourism office may even make the reservation on your behalf: 028-3132596. Local participating artists include Niel Jonker, Joshua Miles, Andree Bonthuys, Claudette Barnes, Daniel Grif- fin, Hendrik Rabie and others working in media as diverse as painting, printmaking, sculp- ture, ceramics, and land art.

Baardskeerdersbos Art Route. Enquiries: 028-3819636 / 083 444 2613. (Image: Clare Menck)

The Hout Street Gallery in Paarl Summer Salon 34

10 December to 28 February 2010. www.houtstreetgallery.co.za

10 December to 28 February 2010. www.houtstreetgallery.co.za The annual exhibition features more than forty top

The annual exhibition features more than forty top established and new South African artists and also offers an array of ce- ramics, sculptures, glass work,

bronzes, functional art and crea- tive jewellery.

“We are thrilled to be presenting our thirty fourth Summer Salon and have collected a marvelous range of South African works for the show,” says David Zetler, founder and owner of the Gallery. “There are magnificent pieces that reflect our South African landscapes, scenes and people in addition to a selection of abstracts, still lifes and draw- ings.”

(Image: Pretorius, Two figures with Goats)




The South African Art world 2009

In 2009, a year during which South Africa acquired a new president, a bulky new cabinet and raft of new policy documents that may or may not remedy an old set of socio-economic problems, art exhibitions in Johannesburg reflected continuity rather than change.

Chris Thurman

There was, of course, plenty of work by artists following the injunction to “make it new”; but there was also a curatorial tendency to look backwards, to recuperate or consolidate aspects of the country’s twentieth-century artistic legacy. For this reviewer, certainly, the year began and ended in retrospection.

certainly, the year began and ended in retrospection. Bronze by Anton van Wouw The Everard Read

Bronze by Anton van Wouw

The Everard Read Gallery started 2009 with an exhibition of small bronzes by Anton van Wouw – a sculptor perhaps best known for his large- scale statues situated at the Voortrekker Monu- ment, in Pretoria’s Church Square and elsewhere. The collection on display was an important reminder that there is much more to Van Wouw’s oeuvre, and that art historians would be wrong to write him off as a stooge of nascent Afrikaner nationalism or of the mining barons for whom he produced numerous busts.

or of the mining barons for whom he produced numerous busts. Alexis Preller: Still life with

Alexis Preller: Still life with Crocodile

The Standard Bank Gallery brought 2009 to a close with a retrospective of Alexis Preller’s work that coincided with the launch of Karel Nel and Esme Berman’s two-volume ‘visual biography’ of the enigmatic artist. The combined exhibition-and-book offers a convincing vindica- tion of Preller’s place in South African art his- tory – locating him alongside, but distinct from, precursors such as J.H. Pierneef or near-contem- poraries like Walter Batiss, Irma Stern, Maggie Laubscher and Gerard Sekoto – and affirms the visionary nature of his creative-intellectual project: combining African cultural and aesthetic traditions with those of Europe and of ‘world art’ (before that was a common term). During the course of the year, the same gallery used its upstairs-downstairs space to good effect by hosting simultaneous exhibitions of Edoardo Villa and Andrew Verster, and Len Sak and Lolo Veleko respectively. Of these, the Villa, Verster and Sak selections were also largely ‘backward glances’, containing pieces from early in each artist’s career and extending to more recent work.

As with Van Wouw, Villa’s renown as an artist stems largely from his monumental public art- works. But the small sculptures – not maquettes – in Villa’s “Moving Voices” were, according to the late Alan Crump, evidence that “monu- mentality is by no means a synonym for large”. Instead, they were a reminder-in-miniature of Villa’s fascination with primary colours and basic shapes (which, admittedly, many viewers find somewhat dated).

(which, admittedly, many viewers find somewhat dated). Andrew Verster: Bodyworks I Verster’s “Past/Present”,

Andrew Verster: Bodyworks I

Verster’s “Past/Present”, on the other hand, evinced his delight in combining and manipulat- ing complex patterns and rich textures: as opera costume and set designer; as bold explorer of “the male body and queer sexuality” (which Clive van den Berg emphasises in his contribu- tion to the catalogue); as re-interpreter of stylised iconography from India, Japan and ancient Greece and Egypt. Len Sak is not a widely recognised name. Yet Jojo, the affable character created by Sak for Drum magazine in 1959 who subsequently ap- peared – with his small shock of ‘Afro’ hair on an otherwise bald head, his trademark braces and white shirt bulging over his paunch – in various newspapers and on TV, has endeared himself to generations of South Africans. The exhibition celebrating Jojo’s fiftieth anniversary showed the various roles that he has played in South African public life: comical township observer, social commentator, educator and activist.

observer, social commentator, educator and activist. Braam Kruger: Winnie Another retrospective tribute was to

Braam Kruger: Winnie

Another retrospective tribute was to be found at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, where a selection of the late Braam Kruger’s work was on display as part of the Arts Alive Festival in September. Portraiture was predomi- nant: sultry nudes in exotic settings, allegorical figures representing black resistance to apartheid,

and of course the self-portraits through which Kruger perpetuated the larger-than-life persona he cultivated in other guises as restaurateur, TV personality and author. Insofar as Kruger remained a ‘marginal’ figure (deliberately so on his part, one feels), another significant retrospective exhibition spotlighted those who have been placed in the ‘centre’ of the national stage as recipients of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award over the last 25 years. It re- mains a moot point as to whether those selected as winners would have garnered the acclaim they have without the publicity generated by the an- nual award; nevertheless, it is incontestable that the list of Young Artists since 1984 reads like an extract from a ‘who’s who’ of the South African art world.

from a ‘who’s who’ of the South African art world. Lolo Veleko’s Wonderland The tographs exploring

Lolo Veleko’s Wonderland

The tographs exploring urban youth identity in Lolo Veleko’s “Wonderland” (exhibited, incongruously but felicitously, with the “Jojo” exhibition) stem from her work as SBYA winner in 2008. In 2009, it was the turn of Nicholas Hlobo, whose “Umtshotsho” met with a mixed reception. Some viewers found the looming figures he stitched together from rubber inner tubing and arranged in dim red lighting to be a haunting and insightful comment on Xhosa iden- tity; others were bemused by the work’s opacity and unimpressed by the gloomy venue Hlobo was allocated in Grahamstown’s 1820 Settlers Monument building. It will be interesting to see what 2010 Young Artist Michael MacGarry produces. His descrip- tion of the proposed installation is intriguing:

it will include a film dealing with “problema- tised whiteness” and the “brain drain”: “Called LHRJHB (London to Joburg), it will be looped to a voice-over narrative containing extracts from J.M. Coetzee’s Youth.” This continues a ‘literary’ trend in much of MacGarry’s previous work, which invokes Conrad’s Heart of Dark- ness, Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Camus’s L’Etranger among others. It will also be interesting to see how the Young Artist award, which inevitably forms part of the fine arts ‘establishment’ in South Africa, will in- flect MacGarry’s work with his fellow members of Avant Car Guard – a self-consciously anti- establishment collective that, depending on who you ask, is either truly subversive or insubstan- tial posturing. There is more consensus over the merits of Brett Murray’s satire; the artist’s “Crocodile Tears”, which was shown at the Goodman Gallery in February, confirmed his status as an incisive critic of public figures and ‘Joe Public’ alike. In the exhibition, Murray aimed his barbs at Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and anyone who had anything to do with the ANC’s Polokwane con- ference, along with Robert Mugabe, corporate opportunists and white South Africa at large.

More flattering portrayals of both private citizens and celebrities were on display in “History Recorded Through Portraiture”, a three-part ex- hibition curated by Reshada Crouse at Museum Africa in June. Visitors had the chance, firstly, to peruse some of the historical portraits kept – but not usually displayed – in the museum; secondly, to admire Crouse’s technique(s) as a portraitist in

a selection of her work spanning three decades;

and thirdly, to see the pieces produced by the students in Crouse’s painting group, aimed at

encouraging novices to take up their brushes.

There were portraits, profiles and busts of a different sort on display in “Capital: How Heads Talk”, an exhibition forming part of Wits Uni- versity’s Arts and Literature Experience (WALE) and promoting the cause of the Wits Art Museum – a yet-to-be-completed structure that will house the university’s collection of South African paintings, sculptures and installations, as well as masks, figurines, headdresses and other historical pieces produced by African artists. Among the famous faces depicted in “Capital” were Nelson Mandela, Hendrik Verwoerd, Lucas Radebe, Edwin Cameron, Steve Biko, Charles de Gaulle and W.H. Auden; there were also numerous renditions of unglamorous and unnamed citizens, which the curators used to suggest other para- digms for understanding “how heads talk”: the ways in which heads can signify justice, power, death, memory and our sense(s) of beauty.

The Wits exhibition’s punning title resonated unexpectedly with Jeannette Unite’s “Headgear”, which was fused with ‘capital’ in other ways:

displayed at AngloGold Ashanti’s headquarters in Newtown before moving to the company’s Gold of Africa Museum in Cape Town, Unite’s drawings of headgear (also known as winding gear, mine heads or shaft heads) tread an awk- ward line between critiquing the socio-ecological damage caused by mining and aestheticising heavy industry in order to justify and even efface this damage.

industry in order to justify and even efface this damage. Work from Aparna Swarup’s Bioscope A

Work from Aparna Swarup’s Bioscope

A comparable ambiguity was evident in Aparna

Swarup’s “Bioscope”, a series of tographs of the Indian artist’s home town, Allahabad. While many of the people and settings in Swarup’s tographs manifest poverty and pollution, her skilful manipulation of the lens (as well as of the

poverty and pollution, her skilful manipulation of the lens (as well as of the Aparna Swarup’s

Aparna Swarup’s Bioscope opening



Page 09



ling project by artists Bronwyn Lace and Vaughn Sadie. 2 Dec-18 Jan 2010, Umtshotsho,

works by Nicholas Hlobo. Second Floor, City Hall, Anton Lembede Str., Durban T. 031

311 2268




Durban University Art Gallery 3-17 Dec, A Body of Work, collage by Joanne Hoyer. Steve Biko Campus, Steve Biko Road T. 031 373 2207 Email: artgallery@dut.ac.za

Elizabeth Gordon Gallery

A variety of new South African

artworks, including paintings

by Hugh Mbayiwa, Nora New- ton and Hussein Salim.

120 Florida Rd., Durban

T. 031 303 8133


Kizo Art Gallery 20 Nov-10 Dec, “Innovative woman”, various mediums

from video, installation, pho- tography, painting and perform- ance art exhibiting works by Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Usha Seejarim, Dineo Bopape, Nontobeko Ntombela, Ernestine White, Ingrid Ma- sondo, Lerato Shadi, Senzeleni Marasela and Bongi Bengu. Gateway Theatre of Shopping,

Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal

T. 031 566 4324


KZNSA Gallery

6 Dec- 10 Jan 2010, SUSS’T:

A Designer Christmas Fair.

time, vulnerability and transi-


On a lighter note: Joburg may

empty out over the holiday season, but if you’re in town

there’s still artistic festive cheer

to enjoy. Following successful

exhibitions by Louis Olivier, Senzo Nhlapo and Sinta Spec- tor as part of the Artspace Mentorship Programme, Teresa

Lizamore will be curating the

ninth instalment of her “Op- pitafel” festive series at the gal- lery’s Rosebank premises and

at the Artspace Warehouse in

Fairland. Over fifty artists will

be contributing to the show, which takes its inspiration from the book and film Babette’s


And in 2010? South Africans


Andrew Walford

6 Dec (one day only), Shong- weni Christmas Exhibition,

featuring ceramics by Andrew


B9 Zig Zag Farm, Shongweni, KwaZulu Natal T. 031 769

1363 C. 082 794 7796

Artisan Contemporary 4 Nov-5 Dec, Horses Un- leashed. 9 Dec-20 Jan 2010, ‘Collections’, works by

contemporary artist Lionel Smit. Also on show, ceramics, jewellery, fabrics and turned wooden vessels by well known South African artists.

344 Florida Rd., Morningside,

T. 031 312 4364


Art Space - DBN

23 Nov-16 Jan 2010, Annual

Affordable Art Show ‘09.

3 Millar Rd., Durban. T.031

312 0793


Crouse Art Gallery KZN Art @ it’s Best, works in watercolours, oils and acrylics, by +- 50 artists from the Water Colour Society, Botanical Society and the Highway Art


254 Lillian Ngoyi/Windermere

Rd., Morningside

T. 083 385 0654


Durban Art Gallery

12 Nov-16 Jan 2010,Unit of

Measure, a collaborative travel-

Chris Thurman Continued from page 8

developing process) turns them into beautiful and even sacred

subjects. Yet this was not an exoticising view of India; rather, it was a kind of intimate love-letter to the city, written by someone who knows its


Those who attended both Swarup’s exhibition and “Painted Narratives from India”, curated by Anjana Somany as part of the nation- wide programme of events comprising “Shared History:

The Indian Experience in South Africa”, could no doubt iden- tify numerous parallels. While neither the medium nor

the content were the same, both contained artworks that owe more to myth and legend than they do to social or political


Jan van der Merwe’s “Ontwor- tel/Uprooted” (currently on at the UJ Gallery) does engage with such realities, albeit indi- rectly. Van der Merwe’s work addresses vague categories of the downtrodden and dispos- sessed (“ordinary people who become victims”, “women”, “children” – a topical but per- haps trite echo of the “16 Days of Activism” campaign). It is more interesting, however, for the rusting process to which he submits found objects, lending each work metarical potential in “the fight against

SUSS’T shows the broad wealth of craft and design in South Africa, with a special emphasis on local produc- tion. Participants have been selected because of their ability to transform traditional and contemporary materials into unique objects of function and


Peter Machen

Eyes Wide Open on the Streets of Mumbai

So I reneged on my responsi-

bilities in November and head-

ed to India for the first time

- Mumbai specifically – and,

like so many countless others before me, I fell in love with the place in many unexpected

ways. But I’ll hold back on the romance and stick to the things

I saw - although it’s difficult, commenting blithely from the perspective of contemporary

art on a visual culture that is

western or otherwise.

But that’s also a reason why

it must be such a challenge to

take up the mantle of artist in

a culture so steeped in visual

signifiers and in which the divi- sion between decorative and expressive art is drawn in such

loosely composed sand. And so my visions of the handful of galleries I visited are a little drowned out by the vast buffet of visual delights available with every walking step. I saw some fascinating work in the galleries of Mumbai, but they competed with the beautifully felt signage on taxis and trucks carrying goods and water and the way that space itself seems to be sacred against such dense population pressure, and even with mass-produced curio

art, because mass-produced in India still invariably means made by hand. And so you can buy a painted canvas on a beach in Goa that

is technically exquisite and the

product of millenia of culture and which will smudge against the plastic bag in which it’s sold. And it was a pleasure to walk through a world so rich with art and design, and so little of it digital. While in much of Africa, signwriting has fallen prey to the convenience of printshops with their plotters and laminates, on the streets of Mumbai it is still largely an analogue world. The famous Jehangir Art Gal- lery occupies a central role in the Mumbai art scene, a fact that must at least partially be the result of showing new exhi- bitions every week in its mul- tiples spaces (and also by the fact that it is physically centred in the art district in the Colaba

area). In my two visits to the gallery, I managed to see seven shows, ranging from some im- pressive debut solo exhibitions to a three-part retrospective of the celebrated - but decid-

edly kitsch – talents of Indian national treasure Paresh Maity. While such heavy rotation of exhibitions must be exhausting for the gallery staff, I was more impressed by the fact that all

of the artists were permanently present at their exhibitions. (In Durban, the only artist I’ve ever seen in permanent residence in a gallery - other than those who have lived in galleries as art event – was the

late Aiden Walsh).

There are surprisingly few

galleries in Mumbai, consider- ing that it is one of the world’s largest cities, but there’s also an almost tangible sense of a contemporary 21st century art scene beginning to invade and

I have no doubt that next time

I visit the city, the number of

galleries will have grown. Like many of the spaces I visited, the Jehangir Gallery is a family funded affair – in India, the patrons are mostly still families and individuals, and corporate sponsorship has yet to attempt it takeover job. And there is still the sense that buying art is an act of patronage, rather than an investment. Although, as an obviously drunk woman at a fancy whiskey tasting at a fancy hotel said, “the problem with the art scene in India is that nobody is yet prepared

to spend a crore (10 million rupees, about R1,5 million) on an artwork”. But give them a bit of rope and I’m sure the time will come when the rising consumerist fervour will send the local art market rocketing as it has done in SA. Viewing a selection of work from the permanent collec- tion of the National Gallery of Modern Art, a short walk down the street from the Jehangir, I was a little bewildered to expe- rience a collective idiom that

was foreign to me – although still recognisable. It’s probably the same kind of experience that a foreign visitor might have looking at a selection of work from the permanent col- lection of the DAG or the JAG

- but not from the Louvre or the

Tate. The colonised countries’

works remain idiomatically provincial while the colonisers’ work is internationalist, already made famous by (art) history. At the same time, it was inter- esting to see how very clearly Indian art had influenced the popular art of the 70s in South Africa. Many of the prints that appeared on the living rooms walls of my youth could have been ripped off from work in Mumbai’s National Gallery, although I’d be lying if I said that I recognised the names of any of the artists. The vast majority of the work

I saw was two dimensional

- paintings and drawings,

peppered with sculpture that mostly echoed religious motifs. The only place I visited in which the work was installed rather than hung was the brand spanking new Gallery BMB, which started off with a mas-

sive bang of a show called

“The Dark Science of Five Continents”, featuring major work from Jon Kessler, Riyas Komu, George Osodi, Wang Qingsong and Jake and Dinos Chapman. It seems likely that the internationalism of this maiden show at BMB will no doubt prove a portent of things to come. And when India’s superrich (the superrich are everywhere; a financial boon for art if a curse for the planet) discover the notion that you could perhaps put a Jake and Dinos sculpture in your living room, just watch the art market

fireworks. You can already smell the sulphur.

Finally, returning to home turf,

I can’t help but shout out loud

about the fact that three of the

Standard Bank Young Artist Awards for 2010 were Dur- banites: Mlu Zondi for dance, Claire Angelique for film and, of course, Michael MacGarry

for fine art. So while Durban, like Mumbai, might still have

a low-hanging financial art

ceiling, its role as a nurturer of national talent remains a vital

element of South Africa’s fine art scene. And that will always be something to celebrate. Oh, and happy happy joy joy. Relish what’s left of the year and may I be the first to wish you a happy 2010.

166 Bulwer Rd., Glenwood,

T. 031 2023686,



Margate Art Museum 1 Dec-21 Jan 2010, The Un-

expected Visitor of the African Exodus, mixed media by Nicky

Chovuchovu. millenia older than modernity,



Email: huey@hcm.gov.za

039 312 8392 072 316 8094


Tatham Art Gallery 27 Oct-14 March 2010, the Schreiner Gallery New Acqui-

sitions Exhibition, including a linoprint by Vuli Nyoni, and a rolling ball sculpture by Zotha Shange. 9 July-21 Feb 2010, The Heath Family Retrospec- tive Exhibition, mixed media works by the Heath family. 2 Dec-24 Jan 2010, Northern KwaZulu-Natal Craft Exhibi-


Cnr of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Rd. and Church Str. (Opposite City Ha