If you find you have a Saturday morning to yourself, why not treat yourself to a few hours of gallery crawling? I took my parents and my husband recently and we visited a few places in Joburg Central:
1. Making Way
I was really excited about this particular exhibition: a mix of Chinese and South African artists. Given my extensive knowledge of Chinese culture [!] and my total political involvement in the country I live in [!] I was curious to see what the collective theme of this exhibition would be. Are the Chinese worried about the gross human rights violations happening through their government? Are the South Africans worried about the increase of Chinese investment on our soil, and the repercussions that may have given that we have one of the most liberal constitutions in the world?
The South Africans are concerned with Xenophobia.
The Chinese are concerned with the squalor of their lives even if everyone is telling them that their country is the world’s Number 1 Economy.
Very interesting concepts. The works were disappointing, though. They seemed to me overly political; sans soul or emotion. I mean, how can you make art about xenophobia without injecting a ton of emotion?
Maybe I just didn’t get it.
I did like this performance, though:
How fun! I’m going as a bunch of balloons to the next fancy-dress I get invited to.
Read more about this exhibition
2. Dynamic Stasis
If you haven’t yet seen Jessica Meuninck-Ganger & Nathaniel Stern’s beautiful work, please do so. Breathtaking. Transparent prints over LCD screens that are busy looping videos. For a moment, the print and the video lines up. And then it’s over.
Some questions are raised: Can I get a warranty on my artwork? What happens when the LCD screen breaks? Aren’t all artworks transient? We try our best to hold on, to keep the canvasses in temperature-and-moisture-controlled chambers, to keep drawings away from air. Attempts that are futile if everything is going to be under water in a few years anyway.
What I’m saying is this: if my budget didn’t allow for a total of R8 left over this month, and if they hadn’t all been sold out already, I would have bought one of these. I think it’s brilliant and I think the questions about “how long is this work going to last” are part of the concept. What will the work be saying, many years from now, when the LCD screen is blank and a transparent piece of paper remains?
3. Wits Art Museum
This beautiful museum only opened last year. It is free to enter. There is a pretty cool coffee shop on the premises. There is amazing work by South Africa’s amazing artists, plus some beautiful examples of traditional craftwork. Plus, across the street there’s this sweet little bookshop.
I expect to be visiting WAM often in the future.
Read more about WAM
I believe it is the art lover’s responsibility to show up at the galleries and museums. On our way into Johannesburg we were complaining: Why is Cape Town getting all the funds for art?
Why are Joburgers not attending the galleries here? All three venues were COMPLETELY EMPTY* when we visited. Why is that? Why are we not engaging and going to look at the art presented to us?
*Only slightly exaggerated. For effect.