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Wednesday, Feb 12 2014

In San Francisco, if a BART car opens on a lavish formal dinner attended by a French buffoon and a mezzo-soprano, travelers are likely to watch, applaud, and later gloat over the charm of their morning commute. The reaction to public whimsy in South Africa is different — a little skeptical, a touch uneasy. Thankfully, that hasn't stopped anyone: A swing appeared on an overpass in Johannesburg, a bench was wrapped in yarn, an 11-man soccer team was challenged by one woman with a plan; and Athi-Patra Ruga has appeared on a mud-caked road like a bird of paradise, covered in brilliant, precariously inflated water balloons. Through photographs, video, sculpture, painting, and performance, Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa captures pyretic acts of self-expression, from the work of photographer Ian Berry, whose images brought Cape Town's drag culture to light back in 1959, to the much-beloved Handspring Puppet Company, which recently earned a Tony for War Horse.

Thursdays-Sundays; First Tuesday of every month. Starts: Feb. 21. Continues through June 29, 2014

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Silke Tudor

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