Goodman Gallery was founded in 1966 in Johannesburg during the apartheid era by Linda Givon, who died this year. Essers took over in 2008 and opened a Cape Town space, and last year a gallery in London. Writing on Artnet, Essers noted that while the gallery’s closure during the pandemic makes the business vulnerable, it has weathered worse: for long it was the only place Black artists could show; and in 2012 Essers was sued by Jacob Zuma for showing Brett Murray’s The Spear (2010), which depicts the then-South African president with his penis hanging out. During lockdown, the gallerist – who represents 45 artists, including El Anatsui, Grada Kilomba, William Kentridge and Gabrielle Goliath – threw herself into fundraising for embattled local hospitals and health clinics in underserved communities, and providing sanitation essentials to the homeless. The London space reopened with a show of the late photographer David Goldblatt, while Johannesburg saw a Kentridge exhibition (the artist’s own DIY ‘incubator space’, The Centre for the Less Good Idea, took the seventh of its annual performance seasons online).
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