Linda Givon, legendary commercial art gallerist and South African arts supporter, will celebrate her 80th birthday in August 2016. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, Wits Art Museum will host an exhibition of works from Givon’s private art collection. Curated by Givon in collaboration with James Webb and Josh Ginsburg, this project will provide unprecedented access to important works and the stories that link them, as well as fascinating insights into the private person behind the public face of Linda Givon.

Image: William Kentridge, Nandi with Constellation – Drawing for Felix in Exile, 1994, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 80x120cm

Works on display will include the very first William Kentridge that Givon purchased from gallery owner Reinhold Cassirer, powerful works by Dumile Feni, Sydney Kumalo, Willie Bester and Ezrom Legae. Visitors will have the opportunity to see two works by New York based iconic performance artist Marina Abramović, that Givon purchased at the time of the artist’s visit to South Africa in 2005. Givon nurtured the careers of countless important South African artists and in so doing developed her enviable collection. Givon will also be contributing to the creative arts through the commissioning of new works especially for this exhibition, including a performance by Steven Cohen, an installation by Moshekwa Langa and a new piece by James Webb.

Wits Art Museum is a highly appropriate venue for this tribute exhibition. Givon received her BA from Wits University and in 2007 was awarded a Gold Medal by the institution. Since the 1970s, in its early incarnation as the Gertrude Posel Gallery, Givon has so generously and consistently supported Wits Art Museum, through exhibition and publication projects, the presentation of major artworks and as the first major donor towards the creation of the new Wits Art Museum. But WAM is only one of the many institutions and organisations to have benefitted from Givon’s involvement, support and largesse. Funda Community College, the Johannesburg Arts Foundation, Artists Proof Studio, the University of Johannesburg, Fordsburg Art Studios and fellow museums such as Johannesburg Art Gallery, Pretoria Art Museum, Durban Art Gallery and Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town have all benefitted from her support. Givon’s major philanthropic efforts were recognized with an Inyathelo Philanthropy Merit Award presented in 2008 for her support of the Children’s Hospital Trust.

Exhibition opening event: Wednesday 10 August 2016, 18h00 for 18h30
Exhibition Dates: 11 August to 13 November, 2016