Joburg has some pretty dam amazing Art Galleries, they’re great places to wonder around and draw some inspiration or soak up culture. Another cool thing about what I call Gallery Hoping is that entrance to most galleries is free and a lot of galleries are in walking distance of each other. I picked out a few of my favourite galleries to stroll through in Rosebank and Braamfontein.
First up are Everard Read and Circa, on Jellicoe Avenue in Rosebank. This is just off Jan Smuts and there is parking at the Everard Read Gallery. The Everard Read Gallery exhibiting and selling art for over 100 years, historical works by artists like William Kentridge, Cecil Botes and Lucky Sibaya have exhibited there. Currently they have Under An African Sky by Paul Augustinus on show. If you’re in #cloudporn on Instagram you’re likely to stare for hours.
Take a walk across Keyes Avenue when you exist Everard Read and you’ll see the impressive Circa Gallery. The architecture is awe inspiring- since it opened in 2009 it’s become an iconic Joburg landmark. And they have some Norman Catherine sculptures hanging around the pavement at the entrance. Totes casual. At the moment Wayne Barker’s normal man is up, there are beaded canvases, oil paintings and tiny sculptures in mixed media. There are references to local pop culture icons and well known historical figures mixed in with everyday people- you might even see a portrait of someone you know there.
Then just down the road on Jan Smuts Avenue is the Goodman Gallery. I’ve loved this place since high school when our Art Teacher- a former Israeli Army tank driver- had us write up reports on exhibitions. Other People’s Memories is a group show that has works by Kendell Geer’s (the sculptural foil effigy of Christ), Nolan Oswald Dennis (a plywood tunnel with intricately carved paraffin wax on the interior) and Haroon Gun Salie (the mirrored metal cut out of ‘KOM OOR DIE SEE).
My last stop in Rosebank was Lizamore & Associates, which is short walk from the Goodman. Right now they have the last of a three part solo exhibition by Ronel de Jager called A.M (After Midnight). It’s a moody, multi-media set of work that explores light and shadow in relation to the passing of time.
Another area with beautiful galleries in close proximity to each other is Braamfontien, which is about a 10 minute drive from Rosebank. I started at WAM or Wits Art Museum. Not technically an gallery but still great for Gallery Hopping. Firstly the building is really breath taking. Just being in the space and looking at the exterior gets you thinking.
There’s also café with delicious bites and a great harvest table spread served from 12:00 on weekdays, but more about that in another post.
Then about two blocks away on Juta Street is STEVENSON, a deceptively large space considering its narrow window frontage. Stevenson has had some powerful, reverent in the 12 years it’s been running, resident artists include Pieter Hugo and Penny Siopis. Deborah Poynton’s Scenes of a Romantic Nature touched a nerve with me. There are 21 large canvases with landscape scenes and portraits of people within nature. The fine detail is pain staking especially considering the large scale she worked on.
Then I finished off with Kalashnikovv on Smit Street. This relatively new, small gallery focuses on contemporary art. When I went through the owner Murray was setting up for the launch of Cale Waddacor’s book Graffiti South Africa and the accompanying exhibition. This ran for three days and included a group exhibition and live graffiti painting with a street art walk on the opening night.
Like I said these are just some my favourites, Johannesburg has many more galleries to check out. If you’re going on a Saturday morning remember that most places close by about 13:00 on Saturday so try to get there early if you don’t have weekdays available. You can click the link of the galleries I went to for more information like opening times and addresses.