Thursday, February 12, 2009

David Goldblatt

Here we have three gallery cards for David Goldblatt shows in South Africa (and a fourth that isn't.) The first is from 2001 at the Goodman Gallery. The Goodman is Goldblatt's main gallery in South Africa. They're probably the premier contemporary art gallery in Johannesburg. They represent many African artists including William Kentridge.

Note that the opening is an all day affair--9:30 to 5:00--but that you're invited to "join us for a drink at noon."

(8.25 inches wide by 4 inches)



In 2005 we were also invited to have a drink at noon, again at the Goodman. I guess in South Africa they prefer to do their drinking early. Or they like to start early. Either way, the thought of a drink at noon makes me want to take a nap.

(8.25 inches by 12 inch sheet, folded once to produce a 8.25 x 6 card that opens vertically)




In 2003 the Goodman gallery published Goldblatt's book Particulars. The book won the best book of the year at the 2004 Rencontres d'Arles photography festival in France. I don't mean to stoke up desire that can't be fulfilled, but this is really a gem. Everything about it--the binding, the paper used, the reproductions--is exquisite. Edition of 400, half of which were issued with a dust jacket and half without. Interestingly, the dj is probably the most pedestrian piece of the whole production, not that there is anything wrong with it, just that there's nothing special about it. The feel of the cloth is wonderful...but I digress. (There were also 100 slipcased copies that came with a print, 4 different images in editions of 25.)

By the way, the work is pretty good too.

The Goodman has also produced at least two limited edition posters (100-150 copies) for Goldblatt to coincide with bodies of work that the gallery has shown. (But I digress again...)

Next up are two announcements for the "51 Years" retrospective that toured the world starting in 2001. The last one isn't from South Africa but we'll get to that in a moment.

First of all, I think it's a shame that the retrospective didn't reach Jo'burg until 2005. (It was supposed to be held at the Museum Africa in Jo'burg in 2003 but wasn't for some reason.) The exhibit was put together by the Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona, so you can't expect them to send the show somewhere else first, I guess. And, as it's been pointed out many times, the Afrikaners are a little ambivalent about his work, not quite sure if it's putting them in the best of lights, so maybe it wasn't high on the list of priorities for the city. (The fifty-one years book is the catalog for the show.)

The other thing to note is that there is secure parking available inside the gallery. The wording of that aside, the Jo'burg Art Gallery (really a museum, the work is not for sale) is in the central business district of the city and the neighborhood is considered "dodgy." That's an understatement: crime in Jo'burg is horrific and ubiquitous and it's safe to say that secure parking is a blessing. To some, probably more important than the work itself.

(4 inches by 8.25 inches)



Finally, I present this last card as a requiem. This is the announcement from the show at the AXA Gallery in NYC, the second stop on the shows' cross-continental tour. It opened in August, 2001, and was meant to close in October. The show got very good reviews locally and in a number of cases was more or less touted as a "must-see." I think in a way it was meant to be Goldblatt's "break-out" show in the U.S. Unfortunately, the events of September 11th curtailed that schedule. Partly because every public place stopped to reasses their security situation and partly because it seemed unseemly to enjoy anything or we were too exhausted to take in art or that art in some way was momentarily diminished, the show was closed that day and not reopened.

(21 inches by 5 inch sheet that is folded twice to produce a 7 x 5 card that opens horizontally)



One fold opened

Fully opened

I'll mount more SA Goldblatt invites and a couple of interviews with Goldblatt taken from various SA publications at a later date.

Love and a very special thanks to Ann in SA for feeding my interests.


Jeff Ladd said...


is that gallery still offering the Particulars book?

Don said...

No, the book is sold-out.