01
Aug
17

Neglected Histories: Part 3.345: From ‘Neglection’ to Sponsorship.

 
After last months desperado’ish’ toned editorial (Issue No. 17), desperado in the true Rodriguezian sense (not the musician), Saartjie has had her knuckles thoroughly rapped.

Amongst others, a friend of mine, James, contacted me and sharply alerted me to the fact that things are not so dismal in South Africa as the article implied. He pointed out that although all the young artists are leaving the country or laagering in the Cape, the older artists are reforming and coming out of the woodwork. “Older artists seem to be getting their arses into gear – I sense a revival coming on here. The crucial crossover point and crisis has passed in Gauteng and although the days of mega art shows are probably not going to be around for some time to come, the smaller exhibitions and events are starting to flourish again.” The distribution of resources to previously marginalised art communities, we can easily lose sight of, also means diminishing subsidies for those ‘bigger ones’.

This kind of conclusion is the joint result of an observation of what is happening in this year’s Vita Award runners-up selection and the chosen Grahamstown festival representatives. Further, looking at the spat of small, market orientated galleries opening around the country, one easily concludes that these statements are plausible. This rebirth of internal supporting structures is a positive move for artists – it allows for the submerged pool of flotsam to re-emerge and offer an ever expanding quagmire for curators to draw from.

But one of the problems appears to be that some of these suppressed neo-apartheid artists that have been re-emerging internationally, have tended to carry all that Breyten Breytenbach type baggage buried in their content hype. You know, the type of artist that has rendered “thee neo-political” content redundant back in the 1990’s and that looked around and said, in a righteous manner, that there’s nothing more to say (one wonders if they ever had anything to say except the irony of their Americanization’s). Well, the news is that the local flotsam do seem to have a lot to say and what they’ve got to say has to do with OUR neglected histories and future endeavours.

Fortunately the majority of artists activities by re-emerging artists have had very little to do with the ‘Commercial Frontier’ – the support that art receives from sponsors. The BIG sponsors of Major Art events have pulled out of the scene – cricket (wink; wink ed.) and rugby (nudge; nudge ed.) MUST be a safer bet – at least there are no scandals (oh ye ed.). While the Art community squabbles over discarded Spur bones or empty vodka bottles, the neo-fascists (the rejectees) are always refusing to accept the idea of organised art events or competitions, merciless to the exposure they receive in this debate. This does not mean that Saartjie is pro sponsorship, competitions and the debates that surround these events (we can deal with that in a future issue). Do you remember the laugh when the Cape Triennial collapsed with some ‘Non-French artists’ – respects to those wankers wanting to hold a pseudo-19th century ‘des refusals’ type exhibition in protest to not being selected for the main event. Sponsors of art events beware – it seems as if the stalwarted Rembrandt Foundation burned its fingers with its sponsorship of the collapsing competition (well deserved). Be warned. If you are attempting to sponsor an Art event, make sure that the sponsorship covers all bodily vents.

So regardless of big sponsorship, (surprise; surprise ed.) the old buggers are emerging out of the cracks left by the waning TALENT pool. I stroll into the New Millennium and some ice-cream curator asks me if I’ve, “…awoken to the new era – the emerging neo-terrorist market and the rebirth of those neglected and historically prejudiced 1980’s artists”.

“AK Comrade” I say.

AKOK

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