The exhibition of prints Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, curated by Judith B. Hecker at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, offered a view of South African art-making practice that flourished among all sectors of society during the apartheid years. The exhibition evoked a combination of cynicism, nostalgia, even sadness. The politics and the politically oriented art of the twentieth century recall utopian hopes that ended in dashed expectations. Yet art that speaks the language of the twentieth-century insurgent Left also recalls the brutality attributed to those struggles. The exhibition showed an acute awareness of these problems and seemed to have been organized with them as a sort of subtext.

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