MIAMI — As with any developing city the arts community is in continual search for large and affordable work and exhibition space. Miami’s Wynwood Art District and later Design District have been for over a decade hubs for artists and galleries moving into large warehouse and empty storefront spaces. Wynwood is less of a gun-wielding neighborhood and now full of restaurants, bars and coffee shops inviting collectors to hang around the area.
“Wow your accent sounds so amazing,” is a phrase I often hear when people detect my South African accent. Whereas this is usually a compliment — and I accept it graciously — it can also have the effect of creating a distance between me and the other person if they aren’t South African. In short, it can often clarify that they belong to this place and I am an alien in their territory. But as pop star Sting’s pithy “legal alien” phrase comes to mind I quickly snap out of my self-imposed victimization. Of late, however, it has been quite obvious that the art world still propagates a fascination with the “other.”
“I fink u freeky and I like you a lot” is the chorus line of Die Antwoord’s new rap/rave hit. It also sums up the way many people feel about Roger Ballen’s graphic photographs. These images have provided inspiration for many of Die Antwoord’s outlandish costumes and video backdrops, featuring prominently in the first hit single “Enter the Ninja.” Now they make up the set for the duo’s new “I Fink U Freeky” single video.
I spoke with Typoe, an artist who has a studio in his home and has lived and worked in Miami all his life, about his work and practice.
MIAMI — Historically, the relationship of the black identity to sex is loaded and remains a deeply complex conversation. Africa’s black identity history is marred by images of the “African Hottentot Venus” Saartjie Baartman who was put on display and sent across the world like a circus animal before being dismembered for study purposes following her death. This sexualized commodification of the human body underpinned the slave trade, which greatly impacted the entire Caribbean region.
W.A.G.E. seems to be very clear about positioning themselves in a sphere that is realistic for the creative field and with viable and attainable goals. The question now it seems is how to make a payment system sustainable. An experiment at Artists Space is the first attempt at making that happen.
Born in Umlazi, which is south-west of Durban, South Africa, Hyperallergic spoke with Zanele Muholi to get a better understanding of how she views her practice in context to South Africa and the globe, as well as how she deals with exhibiting images of her participants openly in a community where they are potentially susceptible to violent backlash.
Last night, I attended Feeling the Shape of the Arts Economy, a forum for discussion organized by Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) at Artists Space.
The art of Zanele Muholi confronts what it means to be a black queer woman in a country like South Africa, where a certain sector of cultural and social beliefs authorize the “corrective rape” of gay women.
CAPE TOWN — What do Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, local Simonstown painter Peter Clarke, British superstar artist Richard Long and Russian World War II posters have in common? Aside from a show at the South African National Gallery, it seems nothing at all.
CAPE TOWN — Summertime in South Africa is not only a time for beach, sun and granadilla lollies (a locally-made fruit popsicle), with the influx of tourists it is also a time for survey exhibitions by galleries who want to showcase their stable of artists and give an overview of their wares.
JFK Airport, Queens, NY — On my way to Cape Town, South Africa I got bumped off my flight but upgraded to business on a flight four hours later. Free drinks and dinner in British Airways business class lounge and to catch up on some work poses no problems. Walking in to a new space I regularly take note of the art hanging on wall. At first glance the “toned down” works amongst the decor of the lounge appeared to be a traditional “hotel” selection and I was about to let it be when, on closer inspection, I realized I was surrounded by a collection of (admittedly toned down) work by some of the world’s leading artists.