Saturday, January 3, 2009

Johannesburg Art Fair 2009

Following the remarkable success of last year's event, the next Johannesburg Art Fair
will take place in April 3-5, with more exciting programming and hopefully more gallery participation. Presently the event will feature 25 galleries, 8 special projects and 33 artist-talks. Among the 8 projects, I am particularly curious, that is to say highly enthusiastic, about the "Featured Artist" project for which Jane Alexander--to my mind one of the most powerful figurative sculptors working today--will present her installation piece, Security; of equal interest should be the show of film works by artists from the "Global South," organized by my friend Tumelo Mosaka of the Brooklyn Museum.

With the demise of that City's Biennale, and the muted outcome of Cape Town's ambitious project, two years ago, I find myself wishing and praying for the continuing success of the Art Fair. Yes, fairs are a different beast from biennales, but they have come to increasingly represent an equally important part of the contemporary artworld, especially following the runaway success of Basel, Frieze and others. So, for the continent, it seems that Joburg Art Fair would be a good complement to the slow-moving, yet thankfully insistent Dakar Biennale and the Cairo Biennale, which I think is in dire need of an extreme makeover.

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