De Arte - Volume 2009, Issue 80, 2009
Volumes & issues
Volume 2009, Issue 80, 2009
Author Bernadette Van HauteSource: De Arte 2009, pp 2 –3 (2009)More Less
The 80th issue of de arte is special, for various reasons. In the first place we are proud to announce that several scholars of international standing have accepted the invitation to become members of the advisory board. On behalf of the editorial committee, I thank Rasheed Araeen, Annie Coombes, Amareswar Galla, Sidney Kasfir, Simon Njami, Sylvester Ogbechie, Andries Oliphant and Kavita Singh for their commitment, and welcome them as valued members of the board of advisors. We hope their membership will assist in broadening the market and heightening the prestige of the journal on a national and an international level.
Source: De Arte 2009, pp 4 –8 (2009)More Less
From the time Walter Whall Battiss swept into the Department of History of Art and Fine Arts at UNISA in November 1964, until he swept out again in December 1971, "he left behind ... a crazy glowing trail sprinkled with plans, projects and ideas. Like wild exotic plants they grew and flowered... de arte, perhaps the most stubborn weed of all, was gradually discovered to contain a drug to which some members of the art establishment ...have become addicted..." (Skawran 1971:7)
Author Frieda HarmsenSource: De Arte 2009, pp 9 –10 (2009)More Less
Walter Battiss joined the History of Art and Fine Arts Department in November 1964. Having settled into the new position, Battiss was ready in 1965 not only to upgrade the courses in the department, but also to persuade the Unisa authorities that such a department should publish an art journal. In order to do this he prepared a pilot issue. This extraordinary publication was not dated, but from its contents one learned that it appeared during 1965.
Source: De Arte 2009, pp 11 –13 (2009)More Less
Only 44 years of age when he died, Kevin Roberts was like a shooting star, leaving behind a luminous trail which touched all those who knew and loved him and his art. He was known primarily as a painter and sculptor, but lately - particularly during his year of cancer - he worked on a series of delicate pencil drawings which related directly to his paintings. At about the same time he started to make furniture which far transcended what one generally understands under the term. The table he made from the wood staves of wine barrels, and around which his friends and family gathered to take leave of him on 15 August, is as beautifully crafted and detailed as his paintings. His furniture also emulates the exquisitely rhythmical and 'woven' textures of his images, and is immediately recognisable as Kevin Roberts' work.
Author Brenda SchmahmannSource: De Arte 2009, pp 14 –36 (2009)More Less
Through a focus on Rhodes University, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Pretoria, the author explores the priorities that are normally at play when institutions commission portraits of chancellors, vice chancellors and chairs of council, and the ways in which artists have responded to these priorities.
Macho men and the queer imaginary : a critique of selected gay 'colonial' representations of homomasculinity : researchAuthor Theo SonnekusSource: De Arte 2009, pp 37 –53 (2009)More Less
The contemporary presence of images of hypermasculine aesthetics in gay visual culture results from gay men's response to being expected to behave like men (masculine performativity) despite being told through stereotypes and homophobia that they are not men. By fashioning themselves after archetypal masculine icons, like the cowboy, gay 'clones' represent a nostalgic, romantic longing for 'a man's man' that is traditionally associated with heterosexuality and does not carry the stigma associated with over-the-top, effeminate queers. Visual manifestations of the 'macho' gay body, and its accoutrements, become sites of resistance through which ideological notions of gay male inferiority and heteronormative male superiority are challenged, re-appropriated and even subverted. Yet, such representations of homomasculinity, which act as 'templates' of estimable physical qualities for gay men, are based on a stifling stereotype of gay identity that obscures the race-based power relations within which it operates. The images conceived of as gay 'colonial' representations in this article originate from the gay media, fine arts and advertising, and are investigated in order to reveal the apparent standards of masculinity in queer culture, the fetishisation and commodification of the 'frontier', gay beauty ideals, and the racist ideologies that exemplify such homoerotic visual cultures.
Author Stephen FinnSource: De Arte 2009, pp 54 –62 (2009)More Less
If he were king of the island, Gonzalo says in Shakespeare's The Tempest, he would ensure that there would be no riches or poverty, no use of metal, corn, wine or oil. Basing this passage on Montaigne's Des Cannibales, Shakespeare has the old courtier continue, proposing that all men and women would be idle, there would be no treason or felony or weapons; nature would bring forth by itself abundance for his people. However, he subverts his vision of a paradise by saying halfway through that there would be 'no sovereignty'. This is latched onto by two of the 'men of sin' (III iii 53. Shakespeare 1997:3089), Sebastian and Antonio, who comment that the 'latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning' (II i 158. Shakespeare 1997:3073). Thus, Gonzalo's utopia is seen to be a chimera, something impossible to achieve, something which will be in no place, the meaning of utopia. The opposite of this is, of course, 'dystopia', with its connotation of disorder, discord, disruption, disillusion. Its meaning is the opposite of both connotations of utopia (perfect place and no place) : unpleasant place - or every place. All of this, of course, with shades of More (Utopia), Butler (Erewhon), Zamyatin (We), Huxley (Brave New World and Island) and Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four).
The Wits Art Museum : the continent's foremost collection of African and southern African art : collecting and curatingSource: De Arte 2009, pp 63 –69 (2009)More Less
The collection of the Wits Art Museum (WAM) at the University of the Witwatersrand - widely acknowledged as one of the most significant collections of African and South African art on the continent - originated in the 1950s with a small teaching collection accumulated by then professor of Fine Arts and History of Art, Heather Martienssen. Focusing predominantly on the work of contemporary South African artists, the small-but-growing collection was originally housed in what was then the Department of Fine Arts and History of Arts until the mid-1960s.
Art and justice : the art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Ed.) : book reviewsSource: De Arte 2009, pp 70 –73 (2009)More Less
Since its official opening - appropriately on Human Rights Day, 21 March 2004 - the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg has been credited with a particular symbolic and political significance. In his opening address, then President Thabo Mbeki suggested that the building represents 'a shining beacon of hope for the protection of human rights and the advancement of human liberty and dignity' (Garson 2004), while the Johannesburg Development Agency website (Communications 2006) described it as 'a place of solidarity and democracy in this country'. The building has also been hailed as a concrete symbol of the human-rights culture that informs South Africa's democratic constitution; effectively a 'remarkable feat of architectural daring and hope' and thus 'the most important building of South Africa's new democracy' (Law- Viljoen 2006:7). Viewed in the context of South Africa's existing public architecture,whose monumentality is derived entirely from European and North-American models, the Constitutional Court certainly suggests a radical point of departure for rethinking the role of public buildings and public spaces in imagining and constructing a postcolonial South African identity predicated on notions of 'unity in diversity'.
Author Elfriede DreyerSource: De Arte 2009, pp 74 –76 (2009)More Less
In her introduction to the exhibition, Tamar Garb states that the curatorial intention of Home Lands - Land Marks was to bring together recent work of David Goldblatt, Nicholas Hlobo, William Kentridge, Vivienne Koorland, Santu Mofokeng, Berni Searle and Guy Tillim in order to present images and constructs of the specificity of South Africa's past, 'while confronting the ongoing traumas and triumphs of living in the aftermath' (p. 7). The three essays included in the catalogue, 'A land of signs' by Tamar Garb, 'The indeterminate structure of things now' by Okwui Enwezor and 'Modderfontein Road' by Ivan Vladislavić, articulate the multi-layeredness of the South African landscape in terms of experiences, shifts in paradigms and especially 'threats' to the notion of home, homeland and ownership.
Sacred waters : arts for Mami Wata and other divinities in Africa and the Diaspora, Henry John Drewal (Ed.) : book reviewsAuthor Anitra NettletonSource: De Arte 2009, pp 77 –80 (2009)More Less
This massive book contains a large variety of material, all of which has one thing in common : water spirits. Most of the material is drawn from African contexts, but extensions are made to include strands from the African Diaspora. While a large part of the volume consists of a collection of conventional essays, this does not adequately describe its scope. There are a number of photo essays, copious illustrations, narratives, transcripts of interviews and, on the DVD, additional images in the form of slides with notations and video clips, all of which add up to a magnum opus of (largely) African water-spirit lore. The book is catholic in its inclusivity : it caters for those who may be prone to the seductive wiles of Mami Wata, to those who are interested in the otherness or alternative of water-spirit veneration in its indigenous manifestations, and for those who, through more sober habits of critical academic practice, are inclined to deconstruct the discourses of religion and beliefs rather than participate in them.
An eloquent picture gallery : the South African portrait photographs of Gustav Theodor Fritsch, 1863-1865, Keith Dietrich and Andrew Bank (Eds.) : book reviewsAuthor Ashraf JamalSource: De Arte 2009, pp 81 –83 (2009)More Less
Keith Dietrich and Andrew Bank's edited volume of essays on the anthropologist and photographer, Gustav Theodor Fritsch, has the knock-on effect of recovering and reconfiguring South Africa's fraught racial history. It does so by focusing on a rare archive of photographs taken by Frisch in the 1850s and 1860s - a time when the collusion of anthropology and photography was at its height, and the photographic record perceived as an objective account of those who existed beyond the pale of European supremacy and exceptionalism. That the photographic account would fall from grace in 1880, with its account perceived as scientifically illegitimate, reaffirms all the more the unique, indeed, the untimely moment which, in retrospect, comes to distinguish Gustav Fritsch's endeavour.
Author Nicolaas CoetzeeSource: De Arte 2009, pp 84 –87 (2009)More Less