30 September 2011

Tretchi's show slammed


It's like in the bad old days! The Tretchikoff retrospective at the South African National Gallery (finished last Sunday) is now heavily criticised. The director's decision to hold is is heavily debated on the gounds that Tretchi was 'a fifth-rate' racist painter:

'His images of blacks are patronising, paternalistic and ethnographically inaccurate, and the artist’s female sitters are consistently turned into available sexual objects. One is thus forced to ask why on earth Iziko saw fit to glorify a fifth-rate artist and retailer of the most invidious colonialist bigotry, with a retrospective at the National Gallery' say critics.

Andrew Lamprecht, the curator of the exhibition, replies: 'His (Tretchikoff’s) work should be viewed in context. It should be viewed in the context of the time (it was produced). It is less racist than comparable South African artists.'

Andrew is right. But the problem with that exhibition was precisely the lack of contextualising. Had it been otherwise, the show would have been viewed differently - and more sympathetically, I'm sure.

Read the whole story

29 September 2011

Monika on CNN


In December 2010, I interviewed Monika Pon (nee Sing-Lee), the model for Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl, in her home in Johannesburg.

Now CNN followed my footsteps and made a story about her. It is part of the BackStory series.

Watch the video here

Read Monika's story in detail in my article for Mail & Guardian (May 2011)

The Kiwi Blue Lady

This one is from a beautiful collection of prints by Lester Hall, an artist from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. He made a whole series of intriguing stamp-like designs inspired by pop icons from across the world.
See them here

Thanks to Michelle for the tip.