Remember when we all used to go to New York or London, in the days when the exchange rate wasn’t so bad, and visit the art museums? And how we felt that all the art and culture was in big overseas cities and we didn’t have any?
Well. It is no longer true. Johannesburg is brimming with amazing art, galleries and museums, and we’re up there with all the other big cities, a major hub of art and culture.
I went to the opening of the Walter Battiss exhibition at the Wits Art Museum and am still holding all that beauty within. I love Battiss, and this exhibition is so extraordinary that I just sat in the centre of the museum, allowing myself to be enveloped by all his creativity. The exhibit is curated into five decades of Battiss, each one more inspirational than the next. Go. It’s on till mid October and it’s just the most magnificent space.
We’ve just had the Turbine Art Fair in Newtown which featured young up and coming artists as well as some of our more established artists, and it really was a huge success. Many of our Johannesburg galleries exhibited – David Krut, Priest, Artist Print Studio, Carol Lee Fine Art and more) – and the selection of art was fabulous. There were many people wandering around with their purchases and my funniest moment was when a security guard shook his head and said ‘A man just paid R 2000 for that!’ And yet that is a good price for a painting that may become a collector’s item one day. It’s worth looking at the TAF website, checking out the galleries and making a plan to visit.
One of the new artists I discovered this weekend was Lindelani Ngwenya. He makes the most interesting wire sculptures, each one more delicate, fragile and intricate than the next. He’s worth looking out for and his series of female bodies and birds are truly exquisite. I saw his work at the Turbine Art Fair where he was being represented by Intethe.
And talking of wire artists, have you seen the amazing ducks that the street artists are currently making? They are magnificent, and sold literally on the side of the roads. A huge hit with tourists and locals alike, we recommend the guys who sit outside The Garden Shop in Parktown North. Prices are good and the artists are so inspiring. Pam from Amanzi Guest House has a few wire ducks in her garden.
So, if you’re feeling inspired, head out right now and explore. Our Johannesburg Guesthouses are in the heart of the Rosebank Art Mile, where you’ll find the Goodman Gallery, David Krut, Kim Sacks, Lizamore, Res Gallery, Circa, Everard Read and Gallery Momo. You can wander from gallery to gallery, stopping for coffee and cake in between, perhaps at The Parks which has the most delicious cheese cake. And you’ll find the wire artists on the side of the road!
Tomorrow I’m off to the Standard Bank Art Gallery to see the Matisse exhibit and couldn’t be more excited. Matisse in Johannesburg! One of the best known and most widely appreciated artists of the 20th century. The exhibit is also on for a few months, and again, who needs New York?
There is also so much art in town and First Thursdays is a brilliant event, covering galleries from Rosebank, through Braamfontein and into Maboneng. Watch this space. We cover it all.