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Roar against silence

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The pricing of Joachim Schönfeldt's beautifully conceived three-headed lioness sculpture, recently exhibited in Johannesburg, offers a rousing critique of the local art market. So why isn't anyone talking about the issue, asks Rory Bester

Taking Creative License

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An advert showing the outline of a woman seated, her shape rendered using cut-up maps, has landed a Johannesburg advertising agency in hot water. Kim Gurney discusses the wider implications of the Gerhard Marx case

Forecast: Sunny Weather

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The art market requires some unusual metaphors to account for spurts of growth. Kim Gurney investigates the recent rise in value of earlier twentieth century South African art

Vectors of Possibility

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Despite seeing his optimism thoroughly defeated by eKapa, Edgar Pieterse was nonetheless inspired by a Kenyan speaker's provocative suggestion

Nomadism in Art

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The itinerant exhibition has the potential to activate a concept of the post-apartheid as a particular manifestation of the postcolonial, argues Premesh Lalu

Meeting the Neighbours

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Relations between the South African visual arts world and its African neighbours are currently in the spotlight. Kim Gurney reports on various initiatives planned to remedy the country's perceived isolation

"Where is everybody?"

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Documented, critical research into walter Battiss's happenings is limited. A new book, published to coincide with a retrospective show of his work, corrects this with an essay by Kathryn Smith

Meeting halfway

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I must start by reporting a case of theft. I would not have written this book if 20 kilograms of my intellectual property had not been stolen by a baggage handler at Athens Airport. It's a long story, going back more than ten years, but I think you might enjoy it. I would like to present it as my credentials: it explains why a novelist would go where an art historian fears to tread.

But is it dance?

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The expression "But is it art?" has been framing challenges to visual culture since early modernism. In South Africa, the dance fraternity is finally catching on.

The Quiet Mentor

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Above Nadine Gordimer's writing desk is a Teke mask, from the Congo. It's been hanging there, since she steamed up the Congo River in 1960. The mask is flat, with curvilinear and geometric designs, says Karel Nel, whose expertise on African art is sought by Sotheby's. "It's always been in front of her," he says of the mask, reminding her of where she is, in Africa.

In Search of African Forms

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In May 1960, the members of Polly Street Art Centre were seen as independent artists at an exhibition of Urban African Art organised by the Johannesburg Committee of the Union Festival.

Departures and Arrivals

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In the last decade new manifestations of documentary photography have emerged that allow for more creative responses to what was a highly conventionalised genre. This is significant in a medium that remained largely unchanged in its formal and conceptual elements throughout the apartheid era.

Blurring the Boundaries

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In this brave new world of global media kings and high gloss publications, what has replaced the homebrewed cultural zine of yesteryear? Perhaps the angry poets and leftfield editors with ink stains on their fingers have turned to blogging — the new digital vanguard?

Indigenous Flower of the Month

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In June 1995 a new Afrikaans-language porn magazine, published by the owners of the South African edition of Hustler, hit the market. The title, Loslyf, roughly translates as "loose body".

Imaging and Imagining

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Penny Siopis, an artist and Professor of Fine Arts at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, will be the subject of an extensive monograph published by the Goodman Gallery.

Blurred Visions

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Ever since French fashion designer Paul Poiret let his love of Russian Impressionist paintings spill over into his dress designs, there's been an undeniable borrowing of art in the fashion world.

10 X 15 = 100

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A paradox lies at the heart of 10 Years 100 Artists, a sumptuous new publication listing the biographies of 100 South African artists. The editor outsourced the selection of the artists to 15 writers with different backgrounds, experience and opinion in an attempt to be broadly inclusive. Many of the writers in turn applied a particular selection bias which, though openly declared, resulted in a book skewed towards emerging artists and new media.

Picking up the Pieces

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After dragging the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) through years of misguided and inappropriate leadership, grossly inefficient management and a general lack of any creative vision, Rochelle Keene has finally stepped down. Taking the helm is Clive Kellner, who is now faced with the exciting task of leading JAG from the Keene quagmire into a new position of strength.

Freshly Ground

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According to the press release, this was the first year that the country's premiere fashion showcase, SA Fashion Week, had (limited) tickets available for purchase by the public. For the past seven years it's just been open to industry and media types; this year normal people were allowed to be there too.

Farewell to Drums

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The road of red soil that leads to Samson Mudzunga's house could not be more rustic or unaffected. Mudzunga's house, at the foot of a hill, is neither. It is an obvious sign of his wealth and success. Mudzunga lives in the town of Mphephu, in the Limpopo province.

Disciplined Language

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Earlier this year I decided I had experienced once too often the inaccessible language of the seminars offered by the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), which was established at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2001.

Curating the Future

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Khwezi Gule, Brett Kebble Awards Curatorial Fellow


As the first Brett Kebble Art Awards (BKAA) Curatorial Fellow, my participation in the selection process was very enlightening.

Bodies of Meaning

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South Africa-born photographer Gary Schneider is receiving a great deal of attention in the United States. A major retrospective, Gary Schneider: Portraits, closed recently at Harvard University and is en-route to The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu.