PANGA MANAGEMENT INTERVIEWS JOOST BOSLAND

PM loves a bit of an interview. Panga Management does however find PM’s attention flagging, when PM has to read interviews where the interviewer asks “one size fits all” questions. Let’s be honest, it’s about as stimulating as licking a face-brick wall.

PM has always been amused with Joost Bosland‘s curt (thinly veiled in diplomacy) answers to this brand of questioning. Below are a few of PM’s favourites from the South Africa Art Times “2010 in Review” feature.

AT: how do you think the current recession influenced art in South Africa in 2010?

PM can see JB breathing deeply and thinking not so quietly, Must I! Must I really answer your stupid and badly worded question? And then responding…

JB: I don’t know if it influenced the art much, I suppose less was sold.

AT: Do you think the worst of the recession is over?

PM can feel the concrete stare, curing on JB’s pretty face as he types “if the bankers don’t know how the fuck should I” then he deletes that and types.

JB: Ask an economist.

Anyway PM has a number of tailor-made – like a good suit- questions for Joost

PM : Let’s begin in that traditional interview way, where you cut and paste that short biography you have saved on your computer for just these occasions – The bio that explains to readers what role you play in the art world , and why they should be riveted by what you have to say . (Art world is a shitty and tedious term, but let’s run with it)

JB: Joost Bosland is a director at Stevenson. Let’s leave it at that.

Now that we have the formalities out the way, PM is going to describe Joost Bosland to you, as PM sees him. Willowy tall with broad enough shoulders so as not to appear swayable. Beguiling pretty, boyish and light -but only when required. PM can see below the smart-casual attire, anchors a weighted, clear and ambitious mind that flickers and whips to the surface when stimulated.PM understands JB is a man with opinions, that’s why PM likes him. PM respects that JB is also a man with responsibilities and a role to honour. So with that understanding in play, let’s try to refrain from too much diplomacy and get down to the hard, fast, shag of the interview.

PM: There are two obvious market opportunities for artists of calibre –the solo exhibition and the art fair. How should they be strategically approached to maximise career development?

JB: My main response is that artists, especially those ‘of calibre,’ should just make work, and worry as little as possible about the market. Despite popular perception, career development largely correlates with merit and hard work.

PM: South African art viewing audiences can be constipated and lazy in their expectations of what makes a strong exhibition/ artwork, have you experience of this?

JB: I’m not sure if constipated and lazy are words I’d use. There are definitely limits to general visual literacy, that is true.

PM: Do you prefer sweet or savoury?

JB: Savoury.

PM: Tertiary education- is it a must for young “art -makers”? Do you think South Africa art schools offer art students the skills the need to perform and produce professionally?

JB: I have said before that most artists appear to succeed despite, rather that because of their institution.

PM: Your thoughts on the South Africa art competition scene, the ABSA, MTN, Young Signatures? Does winning one of these competitions make you an artist to be watched from a gallerist’s perspective? And if not, what do they offer an artist really (besides some cash)?

JB: The competition circuit breaks up into those with and without application procedures. Or, to phrase it differently, those awards that go to artworks, and those that go to artists. The latter ones are almost always more interesting.

PM: Would you date an artist?

JB: My girlfriend would not be impressed.

PM: South Africa has a handful of art reviewers/ academics/ and maybe the odd art critic that publish type in the daily rags, Artthrob , Art South Africa and the SA Art times. Let’s be honest all these publications are a bit flawed and none in their current form inspire much confidence. So the question is, what function do they or should they have? What is the concrete contribution they make or should be making to an artist’s career development or the development of the visual arts sector in South Africa?

JB: The most interesting writing probably happens in catalogues. That said, a Cape Times review still gets people through the door. Also, one mustn’t forget that in the internet age, a place like Artthrob is often a first point of call for googling researchers elsewhere in the world. This puts a certain burden on critics, and sometimes I wonder if they are aware of this burden.

PM: Let’s talk secondary market. Is there a strong secondary market for contemporary South African works?

JB: In general, not really

Does the Auction Market create an accurate reflection of monetary value?

JB: It reflects what two individuals are willing to spend while high on adrenaline. I often marvel at the way people write about our auctions.

PM and JB are sitting on a warm veranda, watching evening drop. PM is drinking whiskey -straight no ice, what is JB drinking?

JB: The same, but I’d sneak in an ice-cube or two. (Which I know makes me a philistine.) The bottle probably says Ardberg.

And if we were not talking art what would we be chatting about?

JB: The art of living.

PM: One last thing, who would you like to see PM interview?

JB: David Koloane

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