Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fine art and a nasty barb

This is a continuation of my postings of art reviews - and the odd political cry - which I had published. The crits appeared in the Herald between May and August 2008. I conclude in mid-August with a vitriolic little letter from one of Port Elizabeth's esteemed art academics. (To read these articles, hold down shift and left click and they come up larger. Click again on the image and it gets larger still.)

This review of a show by William Brotchie and Audrey van Eeden appeared in the Herald on May 19, 2008

At this point the Herald underwent yet another redesign and for some reason they started running my reviews regularly as page leads,with huge pictures, banner headlines, pull quotes and so on. So I have had to scan some in two parts. This appeared on May 28, 2008, and concludes below

The last part of the May 28 review

This review of another group show appeared on May 29, 2008. Sadly, the picture took a cut

Another No Signatures exhibition. This review appeared on June 2, 2008, and concludes below

The conclusion

Having done three years of ceramics for my art and design diploma, I took an avid interest in this form of expression. This appeared on June 16, 2008

Rina Badenhorst is a great painter. I reviewed her students' work on June 17, 2008

The Weekend Post ran a piece on or by anti-apartheid activist and later ANC MP Judy Chalmers. As I was at this time barred from writing anything political in the papers, I 'assisted' my son to submit this little SMS setting the record straight. It appeared in the Post on June 28. I often wondered what Judy's sister, Molly Blackburn, who died in a car crash in 1985 at the height of her anti-apartheid campaigning, would have thought of the mess the ANC that Judy was happy to serve in, was making of the country

Still on a political bent, this appeared in the Sunday Times on July 7, 2008

Margaret Harradine again starred in an exhibition. This was from July 14, 2008

Even quilting exhibitions had to be reviewed. This was from July 24, 2008

Sadly, I've had to cut the picture here. This was from August 5, 2008

This review appeared on August 6, 2008

Lucy Skinner's show was reviewed on August 16, 2008

The Sapere mother and daughter show was reviewed on August 18, 2008. It concludes below

The end bit

Ethna Frankenfeld, an academic in the art department of NMMU, saw fit to rubbish all my efforts in a few short paragraphs, published in the Herald on August 19, 2008. I can just imagine all these art 'experts' getting together and destroying my character. Sadly for art, since I have been ousted, it has virtually fallen off the radar as far as the Herald is concerned. I kept it in the public eye for nearly 16 years.

I never claimed to be an absolute fundi on art. I studied it for four years under Jack Lugg, was student of the year in my third year and did pretty well in art history. I have practised art in some form or other ever since, despite having to earn a living not as an art writer, but as a hard-news journalist. I reported for 10 years, including covering the 1980s uprising against apartheid. Before that I was an activist working for the liberal PFP, attracting the often violent attentions of the security police. I have been a sub-editor on the Herald since 1994, doing my art writing in the mornings before my shift. I review art as a journalist with some art training, not an art academic with no journalism experience. I try to make my pieces readable and to pinpoint what I think is of interest to the general public. But if a thing has little merit, I will say so. As to the merits of photography, well I admire good photography and the expertise needed to take a good picture. But you can hardly compare this with painting or scultpture. Just ask the art market.

No comments:

Post a Comment