n De Arte - Picturing change: Curating visual culture at post-apartheid universities, Brenda Schmahmann : book review

Volume 2013, Issue 88
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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With this book, the experienced academic, Brenda Schmahmann, makes a considered addition to the growing discourse on South African art. Although at first sight one might think that the book deals with university art collections as such, it soon becomes clear that her intention is otherwise. Instead, Schmahmann turns her gaze on 'visual images in spaces within academia, such as libraries or council chambers, that are not structured specifically and primarily for the viewing of art' (p. 13). She thus mainly investigates artworks sited in semi-public and ceremonial spaces that play(ed) a significant role in buttressing the traditionally white male institutional culture of universities. A number of the examples in the book are taken from artworks commissioned by universities after the demise of apartheid, that speak to the fraught issue of transformation.

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