this is tomorrow: Candice Breitz, Sex Work (review)
In 2013, a well-known South African artist, Zwelethu Mthethwa, brutally beat 23-year-old sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo to death. During the course of his trial, in which he would eventually be found guilty, the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town chose to include Mthethwa’s work in an exhibition, sparking widespread condemnation and protest. The affair spelled out an uncomfortable art world truth: that the careers of successful male artists take priority over the safety of sex workers.
Sex work is one of the world’s most dangerous professions, with physical violence and stigma experienced worsened by inadequate legislative protection. Kumalo’s story, and many like it, are the motivation for Candice Breitz’s artistic collaboration with SWEAT — a sex worker activist group — on show at Museum Frieder Burda.