Crime, Art and Public Culture

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cultural Studies, Volume 27, p.357–378 (2013)



Jane Alexander's {‘Security’} was installed at the 2009 Joburg Art Fair as a Special Project. This essay investigates notions of being guarded and fenced-in, which are implicit in this piece, in an attempt to breathe new life into a space that has all too easily been blanketed as a new form of ‘apartheid’ in contemporary South Africa. Rather, I suggest, what {‘Security’} allowed its publics to experience was a complex process of working through the everyday ingredients of the post-apartheid, and so to realize new connections between strangers. I argue that this work, at this time, probes at the nexus of a private–public sphere that allows for a real-time grappling with issues of a private nature in the public. The essay further positions this work in relation to some others by Alexander in an attempt to more fully grasp what {‘Security’} says about the present moment. Finally, the Joburg Art Fair is investigated as a setting richly suggestive of this moment in South Africa that simultaneously projects, and allows for, ambivalence in its art publics.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.