Joburg’s art calendar is one of the city most enlivening aspects, with weekly art openings, two major art fairs, and a number of gallery neighbourhoods, including Braamfontein, Maboneng and Rosebank, as well as a district of artists’ studios in Newtown and in the east at Victoria Yards. Twenty years ago this city emerged from relative apartheid isolation and today Joburg is grabbing headlines for its flourishing art scene and rise to prominence of artists, curators and gallerists.
Under current lockdown restrictions, private art galleries who sell their artworks are now allowed to open to the public. To manage numbers and make sure they don't attract crowds many art galleries are now running on more limited opening hours and with visitors asked to first request to make an appointment to visit. As with an other commercial space, when you visit you must wear a mask and you will be asked to sanitise your hands before entering.
Here's a look at some leading local art galleries that you can now visit in Joburg.
This friendly art gallery in Parkhurst showcases mainly group exhibitions that feature young and up-and-coming local artists and is also a specialist fine art framers that creates custom-made frames designed to creatively complement the artworks themselves. Aiming to appeal to first time collectors as well as those with generous budgets, in addition to the works on the walls, there's also the Editions Boxes to browse, which contain unframed prints, drawings and photographs. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open 9:00-17:00, Fri 09:00-16:00, Sat 09:00-13:00. Walk-ins welcome.
David Krut Projects is a top South African fine art print studio and art book publisher. The distinctive Blue House on Jan Smuts Avenue in Parkwood houses an impressive art gallery space, professional fine art framing service and the David Krut bookstore which stocks a unique and hand-selected range of exquisite local and imported art books. On the opposite side of the street is the David Krut Projects Gallery, while in at Arts on Main in Maboneng David Krut Projects have their print workshop which also has a gallery space and bookshop. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: The bookstore and gallery at 151 Jan Smuts Avenue are open by appointment. Call +27 11 880 5648/4242 to arrange a visit.
The Daville Baille Gallery showcases contemporary and classical art from emerging and established local artists. Originally launched in Norwood, their showroom is now located at the inspiring Victoria Yards development in Lorentzville, a beautiful network of transformed ex-industrial buildings that is home to a vibrant community of artist studios and workshops. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open daily 09:00-13:00. Walk-ins welcome.
Opened in 1913 this is Africa’s oldest commercial art gallery. The gallery moved from Johannesburg’s city centre to its current location in Rosebank in the late 1970's and the building in which it is housed is a celebrated icon of South African post-modern architecture. Everard Read Gallery has a full annual calendar of new exhibitions and showcases many top South African artists and sculptors, and has a sister gallery, the contemporary landmark Circa Gallery on the opposite side of the road. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open 09:00-16:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Visits by appointment only. Call +27 11 788 4805 or email email@example.com to arrange a visit.
South Africa's first dedicated photography gallery, FotoZA, focuses on showcasing historic and contemporary work by South African photographers and photojournalists and adjoins one of Joburg's leading camera shops Kameraz (close to the Bath Avenue entrance to Rosebank Mall). In the centre of the large gallery space is a coffee bar serving cakes, coffees, teas and light snacks. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open 10:00-17:30.
Specialising in fine art this gallery neighbours the David Krut Gallery on Jan Smuts Avenue and promotes a cross-section of established and emerging contemporary South African artists. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open 10:00-15:00. Closed Sun-Tue.
One of the country's leading galleries at the forefront of contemporary art in South Africa. The gallery's focus is on African and diaspora artists who engage in a dialogue with the African context. Among some of the most famous artists represented by the gallery are William Kentridge, Sam Nhlengethwa and Haroon Gunn-Salie. VISIT AT LEVEL 3: Open 10:00-17:00. Closed Sat, Sun by appointment only. Book an appointment to visit online here.
A sprawling, once derelict, light industrial complex of buildings in the formerly downtrodden suburb of Lorentzville in eastern Joburg, the 30,000m2 site Victoria Yards is undergoing a spectacular re-imagining and houses an ever-growing community of makers, artists and artisans, whose studios are all linked up by beautiful gardens. The atmosphere is friendly and open and when at work many of the artists will happily invite you in to see their work. There are also a number of places to pick up food and snacks include a craft brewery, coffee shop and bakery, fish and chip shop and craft gin distillery. VISIT ON LEVEL 3: The Daville Baillie Gallery is based at Victoria Yards and is open for walk-ins (see above). Artist studios are open according to the discretion of each individual artist.
*The following art galleries currently aren't yet open to visitors under Level 3 lockdown, although most are currently running online exhibitions that are well worth checking out!
Curator and gallery owner Monna Mokoena's contemporary gallery represents a number of local and international artists. Some names to look out for are Mary Sibande (winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2013) whose work is intensely concerned with notions of identity and in particular, the identity of the domestic worker and photographer Ayana V Jackson whose interest lies in depicting contemporary Africa and its diasporic societies.
Guns & Rain is an innovative startup selling contemporary fine art online by established and emerging southern African artists underpinned by the values of fair, mindful and ethical trade. The gallery represents artists from across southern Africa including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique who work largely on paper and canvas. Art can be shipped globally, or sourced according to request and can be viewed online or in person at the Guns & Rain gallery in Parkhurst which is open by appointment.
The city's public art gallery (known as JAG) opened in 1915. Housed in an exceptional building designed by British architect Edward Lutyens, the collection includes 17th-Century Dutch paintings, 18th- and 19th-Century British and European art and a large collection of South African art from the 19th-Century until today. Only a fraction of the collection is on display at any one time. The gallery also has a number of temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
In Toto (meaning in total, as in encompassing everything) based at the Thrupps centre in Illovo lives up to its name catering for first-time and seasoned art buyers with its eclectic mix of exhibitions by contemporary South African artists.
An exciting gallery space that showcases art from a range of disciplines, with a focus on street art and graffiti as well as on digital art. This is a cutting-edge space for young and emerging artists where openings are happening parties that attract Braamfontein's coolest kids.
World-renowned photographer David Goldblatt founded the Market Photo Workshop in 1989. Today it is a leading photography school specialising in social commentary work and offering support to photographers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Highly successful, the school counts famous photographers such as gay rights activist Zanele Muholi and World Press Photo winner Jodi Bieber, as alumni. The gallery regularly hosts photography exhibitions by current students and alumni.
This gallery owned by Standard Bank is situated opposite the bank's headquarters in the heart of historic Marshalltown. A broad range of work is showcased in a multi-disciplinary space, from a variety of respected artists; with a focus on, but not limited to, contemporary South African art.
Showcasing cutting-edge South African contemporary art and photography, the Stevenson gallery is known for its provocative and thought-provoking contemporary exhibitions and installations by young South African artists.
An art gallery in Melrose Arch representing some of South Africa's most respected talents including Esther Mahlangu, Willie Bester and Christiaan Diedericks. There's a regular programme of interesting events including artist talks and performances and an outstanding sculpture collection. Look out for the annual sculpture fair every September organised by the gallery that takes over the streets of the entire Melrose Arch precinct.
Whether you are looking to invest in a new artwork or are simply a devoted art admirer, a visit to top auction house Strauss & Co's expansive gallery is always an enlightening and uplifting experience. While Strauss's art sales do not consist exclusively of South African art, works by famous and lesser-known South African artists tend to make up the bulk of a typical sale. From renowned older masters from the early and mid-20th Century such as JH Pierneef, Alexis Preller, Gerard Sekoto and Irma Stern to exciting contemporary names like William Kentridge, Nelson Makamo and Zanele Muholi, Strauss & Co's pre-auction exhibitions present an unmissable opportunity to learn more about South African art history.
TMRW Gallery is Joburg's first digital gallery bringing artists together with technological innovations that will make you view art in a whole new light. TMRW gallery is all about the now, the experience of art, and about the near future, as the world leans closer to mixed realities in the forms of augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D technology and the 360-degree moving image. Unlike traditional art galleries where visitors are expected to remain passive and simply look, this gallery invites you, the audience, to immerse yourself in the experience. TMRW is focused on collaborating extensively with artists to explore the fascinating intersections between contemporary visual art, technology and mixed realities. Prepare to be wowed.
Home to an extraordinary collection of African art, including contemporary and historical art from across the continent. WAM offers a dynamic programme of events and exhibitions, whilst maintaining a fantastic permanent collection. Drop in Drawing sessions are held every 2nd Saturday of the month, and curator or artists talks and walkabouts happen every 4th Saturday of the month at 12:00. Talk and walkabouts designed for children take place on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 12:00, while a guided tour related to the permanent collection, takes place Sundays at 11:00. The Museum has an excellent value cafe, Olives and Plates, serving light meals and refreshments.