More interesting items on contemporary African art. A recent issue (n. 69) of Africultures is entitled “Les cultures africaines sont-elles à vendre? Richesses artistiques et développement économique.” Its contents are drawn largely from the proceedings of an October 2006 symposium “Maintenant l’Afrique!” held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In “Diffusion et marché: l’art africain sur la scène internationale,” Christine Eyene surveys developments of the last two decades, from the formation of the Pigozzi collection to survey exhibitions such as Africa Remix. She argues that it is artists who must decide, through their participation, which patrons and exhibitions are best for their art, their careers and their consciences. All the same, she criticizes museums that do Africa surveys at the expense of integrating African artists into the rest of their exhibition calendar, as well as Pigozzi and his collaborator André Magnin:
Pigozzi and Magnin choose artists together, then Magnin “works” with each of them on an artistic project. Patronage isn’t a new activity in art … But here patronage operates in a prescriptive mode. The work doesn’t emerge from an independent creative process … no longer does the work arrive at the market, but rather the mercantile ambition that creates the work.
The issue also includes an interview with Transcape artistic director Gavin Jantjes.
See also “Venice and Contemporary African Art,” by Chika Okeke-Agulu, in the Autumn 2007 African Arts.