n De Arte - Collections update

Volume 2001, Issue 64
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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Art collections are dynamic. They change to reflect changes in art, but also in response to social, political and economic circumstances. Collections in South Africa are in a particular state of flux. One reason for this is a changing pattern of funding to public as well as corporate collections. As Wilma Cruise (2001:94) wrote "There is a crisis in public museums. There is virtually no funding for the arts ... . In post-apartheid South Africa big business has become the new custodian of visual culture.'' Some collections are so critically underfunded that they are in danger of neglecting valuable works, and of closure. Other collections have changed radically in the post-apartheid era, or are in the process of repositioning themselves. They are buying different art by different artists, to fill gaps caused by skewed collecting policies of apartheid South Africa. Others, associated in the public mind with the former apartheid era, have become politically incorrect, engendering debate about how to preserve our history as reflected in our art, while changing our collections to better reflect new realities. At the same time, there are opportunities and funding available for new collections which have no connections to the past and are associated entirely with the new South Africa.

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