Public Intimacy, a new exhibition of contemporary South African art opens at San Francisco MOMA



Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa, a new show of contemporary South African art, opens this week (February 21st 2014) at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The exhibition, which is in collaboration with the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts (YBCA), brings together 25 artists and collectives whose work disrupts expected images of South Africa and the legacy of apartheid.


The exhibition features the work of artists who look to the intimate encounters of daily life to express the poetics and politics of the ‘ordinary act’ and therein the potential to begin imagining new possibilities of the future. Through this intimate lens, the nuances of human interaction shed a more complex light on the greater changes taking place (or not) in South Africa. The work on show is primarily from the last five years, but includes photographic works that act as historical precedents.


“Although South Africa’s political history remains vital to these artists and is important for understanding their work, Public Intimacy offers a more subtle view of the country through personal moments,” said Hertz (one of the curators). “It goes against expectations in order to reveal the smaller gestures and illuminate how social context has affected artists and how they work.”


Public Intimacy features:

  • Photography by Ian Berry, Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, Terry Kurgan, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Billy Monk, Zanele Muholi, Lindeka Qampi, Jo Ractliffe, and Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse
  • Video works by William Kentridge, Donna Kukama, Anthea Moys, and Berni Searle
  • Painting and sculpture by Nicholas Hlobo and Penny Siopis
  • Puppetry by Handspring Puppet Company
  • Publications, prints, graphic works, and public interventions by Chimurenga, ijusi (Garth Walker), Anton Kannemeyer, and Cameron Platter
  • Performances by Athi-Patra Ruga, Kemang Wa Lehulere, and Sello Pesa and Vaughn Sadie with Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre


The exhibition is curated by Betti-Sue Hertz, director of visual arts at YBCA; Frank Smigiel, associate curator of public programs at SFMOMA; and Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs at SFMOMA.


Read more about the Public Intimacy exhibition here.




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