Leora Maltz-Leca

  • Wiliam Kentridge, The Head & The Load. Performance view, Park Avenue Armory, 2018. Photo: Stephanie Berger.
    performance December 21, 2018

    As Wastage

    THE SIREN RISES IN A LONG WAIL. It climbs through the darkness, sounding the alarm that The Head & The Load has begun. At first, the tinny signal of distress seems to emanate from a machine, but as it swells, it modulates into a multitude of voices of varying timbres, and vocalist Ann Masina, her mouth open in full-throated song, is spotlighted. The noise subsides, a pause to register that it is humans who summon us: not a machine. And from that small correction of understanding—the invitation to distinguish between a person and a tool—we are called to remember the difference between

  • passages July 20, 2018

    David Goldblatt (1930–2018)

    PERHAPS THE SUBJECT THAT DAVID GOLDBLATT MOST IDENTIFIED WITH was the Karoo desert, the Great and the Little, the desiccated stillness and the dusty roads that cross it. Farmlands Uitkyk, Bushmanland, Northern Cape, 27 June 2004, 2004, which he chose for the cover of the 2014 Steidl reissue of Regarding Intersections, was a sterling example of it, the kind of terrain Goldblatt privately called “fuck-all.” Was it the refusal embedded in these surfaces that induced him to stare so long, to dig so hard? Whatever the provocation, he was a photographer—and a person—who needed to get to the core of

  • Pascale Marthine Tayou, Masque délavé (Faded Mask) (detail), 2015, mixed media on twenty-five wooden masks, dimensions variable.


    Tayou possesses one of the quirkiest and most irreverent artistic sensibilities around: Having abandoned the study of law for art, he revels in contradiction, mysticism, and delphic aphorism, all of which he cloaks in riotous color and sparkly lights. In this show—organized in close collaboration with the artist himself—Tayou will present a range of assemblages from the past decade, including his signature crystal doll sculptures, “Poupées Pascale,” 2007–17, and his chalk mosaics, “Fresques de craies,” 2015–16. He will ruffle the

  • Malick Sidibé, Self-portrait, 1956, silver gelatin print, glass, paint, cardboard, tape, and string, 16 x 12 x 1/4".
    passages September 21, 2016

    Malick Sidibé (ca. 1936–2016)

    REGARDEZ-MOI!” a voice shouts assertively. The photographer turns and swings toward the young man dancing. His knees are bent low, buttressing a torso thrown impossibly far back. His arms are flung wide open, his grin even wider. Snap. The photographer shifts position, steps one foot forward, lowers his camera, and snaps again. The year is 1962. The place is Bamako, Mali. And the photographer is Malick Sidibé, whose formally elegant, dynamically composed black-and-white images testify to the complex modernities fashioned across postcolonial Africa.

    That they exist as such is cause for both

  • “William Kentridge: Thick Time”

    Stretching time. Unwinding it. Reminding us how we all dance against the drumbeat of our ticking hearts. William Kentridge has claimed for the past three decades that his work is “all about time.” This exhibition, named for the Bakhtinian processes the artist uses to describe the viscous temporalities of his studio, plumbs the depths of Kentridgean time. His clock is, of course, set to the willful time of southern Africa—its peculiar dilations and coagulations, its leaps and surges, its refusals of Greenwich’s imperial cadence. A rich lineup

  • Dak’Art Biennale: “La cité dans le jour bleu”

    Now in its twelfth iteration, Africa’s most significant biennial is a mandatory stop on the global exhibition circuit. Simon Njami curates this summer’s presentation, featuring sixty-five artists from across the continent and its diasporas. Their work will run the gamut of media: from the murals and sculptural residues of rising South African star Kemang Wa Lehulere to the photographs of Ivoirian François-Xavier Gbré, from the multimedia installations of Algerian Kader Attia to the videos of Congolese Michèle Magema. Njami’s lyrical title for the exhibition, La cité dans

  • Zanele Muholi, Collen Mfazwe, August House, Johannesburg, 2012, gelatin silver print, 34 × 24".

    “Zanele Muholi: Isibinelo/Evidence”

    As South Africans commemorated twenty years of postapartheid democracy last year, Johannesburg-based photographer Zanele Muholi was documenting the violence that persists against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities. The series “Faces and Phases,” 2006–14, for example, like much of the work of this self-described “visual activist,” measures the distance between the liberties enshrined in South Africa’s lauded constitution and the sexual violence and hate crimes that continue to be committed against local women,

  • Marlene Dumas, Naomi, 1995, oil on canvas, 51 1/8 × 43 1/4".

    “Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden”

    In the small watercolor from which this exhibition takes its title, a man carries the slumped, expired muse of painting in his arms. The work, dated 1993, is typical of Dumas’s oeuvre—the allegorizing of her medium as some pointed female type. And now, from limp heroine to painted prostitute, more than one hundred pieces will compose the most extensive European retrospective of the South African–born artist’s career. Many of these works probe the gravity of representation, construed not only as the weight of history or the

  • Pascale Marthine Tayou, Cloth Paintings, 2013, cloth on wood, 65 3/8 x 83 7/8 x 3 1/2".

    “Pascale Marthine Tayou: I Love You”

    “I Love You,” the coquettish subtitle of Pascale Marthine Tayou’s upcoming exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, is of course gently ironic: an ambivalent affirmation in line with the Cameroonian-born, Belgium-based artist’s long history of ebullient antagonism toward the museums and biennials that host his work. Whether through jury-rigged installations that destabilize institutions’ physical and conceptual architecture from within or via his dazzling aesthetics of excess (think bauble-swathed Venetian crystal sculptures bedecked with crimson

  • Zwelethu Mthethwa

    Zwelethu Mthethwa’s signature formal preferences—riotous saturated color and grand scale—have always implied a rejection of the rigid black-and-white documentary aesthetic that dominated apartheid-era South African art. This December, a much- anticipated retrospective of the Cape Town–based artist’s photo and video work will go on view at the Fundación MAPFRE, showcasing seventy-five of his works from 1985 to 2012. Included in this selection will be his breakthrough 1995–2005 “Interiors” series, which, gainsaying its title’s promise, appears to invite

  • Ibrahim El-Salahi, Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I, 1962–63, oil on canvas, 108 1/2 x 108 1/2".

    “Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist”

    Perhaps more than any institution of its ilk,Tate Modern has made a commitment to expanding—or even exploding—the Euro-American canon of postwar art. This initiative underpins its staging of “Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist,” a retrospective (organized by New York’s Museum for African Art) of one of a generation of African artists who forged a complex syncretism from the wreckage of high modernism. Although his integration of painting, drawing, and writing has brought him scholarly recognition as a founding figure of the Khartoum school, the Anglo-Sudanese

  • Left: Nelson Mandela's mother, Nosekeni, with grandchildren holding a picture of her son, 1962. Right: Robert Kennedy outside the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, 1966. (Photos: Alfred Kumalo)
    passages November 23, 2012

    Alfred Kumalo (1930–2012)

    IN 2012, awash in images, it is hard to conceive of a time when a photograph of someone like Nelson Mandela could be a rarity. But in the last decades of South Africa’s apartheid, leaders like Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and Robert Sobukwe were imprisoned, exiled, or killed. All images of them were banned. In this atmosphere, photographs of these men assumed a spectral, iconic status. Dog-eared and worn, stuffed into drawers and hidden among papers, the few portraits that existed of such figures circulated like contraband. Possessing these photographs could lead to trouble. And taking them certainly