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Madiba in Art

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Today the world celebrates the 94th birthday of Nelson Mandela, South African former president, struggle hero and role model of millions.

Picasso Vandal Caught on Camera

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These days, any vandal worth his spray paint has his own video channel on YouTube. Or so one would think, given the recent flourish of internet video footage of art vandals casually defacing paintings in art galleries and museums.

Stern's "Arab" sold for over R17 million

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A 1939 painting by Irma stern entitled "Arab" sold at a Strauss & Co auction in Johannesburg on Monday 11 June for over R17 million. The reserve price for the painting was estimated at R7-9 million, and the final hammer price was R17, 267 000. The piece was sold to a South African collector, and is the second-highest price ever fetched for a Stern painting sold to a local buyer.

Richard Long and Willem Boshoff at SMAC Gallery

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Internationally acclaimed British land and conceptual artist, Richard Long, is showing together with South African artist Willem Boshoff at Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary (SMAC) Gallery's Stellenbosch space, in a two-person exhibition that opens tomorrow night.

dOCUMENTA (13) opens 9 June

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It's Documenta time, and even in the southern hemisphere there is excitement in the air. dOCUMENTA (13) opens to the public on 9 June, in various venues around Kassel, Germany.

Ten of the best: "The Spear" news roundup

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It has been a strange and revealing two weeks in the South African art world. The ANC's histrionic reactions to Brett Murray's painting at the Goodman Gallery, titled "The Spear", persisted beyond all reason; as a case in point, the ANC orchestrated a protest March to the Goodman Gallery's premises on Jan Smuts Avenue yesterday, even after the offending painting was removed from the gallery and owner Liza Essers offered an apology to President Zuma and his family.

Muholi, Chiurai and Kentridge at dOCUMENTA 13

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Three South African artists will participate in the prestigious mega-exhibition dOCUMENTA 13, in Kassel, Germany, which opens on 4 June. After a grueling selection process, which eliminated several likely contenders, curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev selected works by Zanele Muholi, Kudzanai Chiurai and William Kentridge for inclusion.

Supersize my Painting

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A Gauteng politician bought a painting with state funds by disguising it as a purchase of 256 Big Mac burger meals from a South African franchise of MacDonalds.

Curiouser and Curiouser: Brett Murray's "The Spear" Defaced

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The controversy surrounding Brett Murray's painting "The Spear", part of his exhibition Hail to the Thief II at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, reached fever pitch yesterday when the artwork was defaced by two men. The painting has elicited outrage from the African National Congress (ANC) for its depiction of South African President Jacob Zuma's genitals. In keeping with Murray's long-standing penchant for satire, the work references a famous poster of Vladimir Lenin, but inside Lenin's billowing coat President Zuma stands clothed but with his genitals exposed.

DAC Provides Documentation on South Africa Pavilion at 2011 Venice Biennale

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ArtThrob broke news last week that the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has handed over documentation concerning South Africa's participation at the 2011 Venice Biennale. This follows a protracted enquiry procedure which involved the submission of parliamentary papers of inquiry into Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile's appointment of Monna Mokoena as commissioner of the South African pavilion at Venice, as well as the spending of R10 million of state funds on what the minister himself has called a "private initiative".

Exuberance in Africa

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This Friday, the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) launches a weekend-long festival of events, colloquia, performances and visual art titled The Exuberance Project. Convened by Michaelis lecturer Raél Jero Salley and GIPCA Director Jay Pather, this project is a central component of UCT's Africa Month celebrations.

Wits Art Museum Opens

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After three years of construction, and several more of planning and fundraising, the new Wits Art Museum (WAM) at Wits University in Johannesburg opens to the public in May. The inaugural exhibition, titled WAM! Seeing Stars, previews to invited guests on the 9 and 10 May, with doors opening to the public on 19 May.

Take a Walk in These Shoes

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Since the early 1990s, Johannesburg has been a city in which commuting almost always takes place by car or taxi and the idea of walking the streets strikes fear into many a heart. That has been changing thanks to the gentrification of parts of the inner city in recent years. Now walking in Johannesburg, or at least parts of it, is something even the most leaf-sheltered suburbanite can do.

HIFA Launches in Harare this Week

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The 2012 Harare International Festival (HIFA) of the Arts launched yesterday evening, with an elaborate opening ceremony at the festival's somewhat exclusive grounds. The Festival boasts an extensive program of music, theatre and dance, and a small visual arts program, and is a highlight on the Zimbabwean arts community's calendar.

Artist Proof Studios turns 21

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Artist Proof Studios in Johannesburg celebrates its 21st anniversary this year with a 10-day festival of exhibitions and workshops showcasing works by three generations of APS-affiliated artists.

Robin Rhode Signs with Lehmann Maupin Gallery, NYC

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South African artist Robin Rhode has signed with New York gallery Lehmann Maupin, the New York Times reported this week. Rhode, who is based in Berlin has until recently been represented by New York's Perry Rubenstein Gallery. Included in Lehmann Maupin's stable are several important international artists including South Korean artists Lee Bul and Do Ho Suh, British artist Tracy Emin and Jamaican photographer Nari Ward. Rhode is not currently represented commercially in South Africa.

Candice Breitz: Extra! Opens at ISANG Tonight

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Candice Breitz: Extra! opens at the Iziko South African National Gallery this evening at 6pm. Having premiered at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg Extra! is the first comprehensive survey exhibition of this Berlin-based artist's work ever to take place in her home country.

HIFA opens in Harare this week

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The 2012 Harare International Festival (HIFA) of the Arts launched yesterday evening, with an elaborate opening ceremony at the festival's somewhat exclusive grounds. The Festival boasts an extensive program of music, theatre and dance, and a small visual arts program, and is a highlight on the Zimbabwean arts community's calendar.

Albert Adams Honoured in Manchester

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Two exhibitions at the University of Salford in Manchester honour the life and work of South African painter Albert Adams. Opened on the evening of 10 April, an exhibition titled Incarceration foregrounds Adams' critical responses to acts of political violence and oppression in Darfur, Abu Ghraib and in South Africa, with a particular emphasis on the imprisonment of political prisoners on Robben Island. The second exhibition, titled The Burden, presents an overview of Adams life and career as an artist.