Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa brings together twenty-five artists and collectives who disrupt expected images of a country known largely through its apartheid history. These artists’ works go beyond topics of nationhood and the possibilities of a new non-racial democracy. Instead, the exhibition presents a critical arc that existed but was mostly overlooked during apartheid, and which has emerged in recent years as a dominant approach—the expression of the poetics and politics of the “ordinary act.” Mainly featuring works produced over the last decade, the exhibition focuses on artists who opt for close views, small actions, or gestures that occur in public. This contemporary tendency is prefigured in the work of photographers who emerged during apartheid, including Ian Berry, Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, Billy Monk and Santu Mofokeng, all of whom have approached politics through interpersonal and social exchanges.
Betti-Sue Hertz, Director of Visual Arts, YBCA
Frank Smigiel, Associate Curator of Public Programs, SFMOMA
Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs, SFMOMA
Public Intimacy: Art And Other Ordinary Acts is jointly organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.