Art City: 15 must-visit art events in Joburg this September

With dozens of outstanding art exhibitions as well as the biggest contemporary art fair of the year, the superb annual FNB Joburg ArtFair, there’s plenty of great art to enjoy in Joburg this month. Here’s our pick of September’s 15 top art events you won’t want to miss. 


1. Maja Maljevic Polytekton at David Krut Projects

On show until Sep 22
Serbian-born artist Maja Maljevic presents her latest solo exhibition Polytekton at David Krut Projects until Sep 22. A David Krut Workshop alumni, Maljevic’s artworks often employ abstract geometric shapes to create hidden, unique worlds and narratives. Spanning a variety of mediums, Polytekton features a series of 61 artworks titled Documents for the People, made using a range of techniques and media including etching, silkscreen printing, collage and chine-colle, Documents for the People recreates moments from Maljevic’s childhood with repetitive shapes and colours referencing her lined school notebooks and artworks made in blue ink reminiscent of BIC ball-point pens.  On show at David Krut Projects in Parkwood until Sep 22. Find out more here. 

2.  Fringe Don’t Blink at Daville Baillie Gallery

On show until Sep 29
South Africa’s favourite (and most secretive) pop artist Fringe is back with his latest exhibition Don’t Blink at the Daville Baillie Gallery in Victoria Yards. Fringe’s signature mixed media works contain happy, yet irreverent, iconography and this latest work is described as ‘a mind bending journey through the characters and charades of youth’.

A Marble Torso of Emperor by Yinka Shonibare, Goodman Gallery

3. Yinka Shonibare MBE at Goodman Gallery 

On show until Oct 6
In his latest exhibition Ruins Decorated British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare continues his ongoing debate about the cultural and political issues that shape our identities. Exploring the rise and fall of the British and Roman empires and the impact of colonialism on modern African cultures, Shonibare questions what it means to forge modern African identities and how to navigate the complicated intricacies of cultural appropriation. Yinka Shonibare will be in discussion with Wits University professor Hlonipha Mokoena at the gallery on Sat Sep 8 at 11:30. On show at Goodman Gallery in Parkwood until Oct 6. Find out more here.

4. SculptX at Melrose Arch 

On show until Sep 30
Until Sep 30 the second annual SculptX Fair at The Melrose Gallery in Melrose Arch celebrates the work of emerging and established local sculptors including well-known names like Willie Bester, Pitika Ntuli, Anton Smit, Vusi Khumalo and Blessing Ngobeni. The sculptures are on display both inside the gallery and on the streets of the Melrose Arch precinct and the fair includes a series of free art talks. On show at The Melrose Gallery until Sep 30. Find out more here.

5. 20 Years of Pro Helvetia 

On show until Nov 4
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, part of the Swiss Arts Council, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special programme of events including Uriel Orlow’s multimedia art exhibition Theatrum Botanicum (on show until Nov 4, pictured top) about the politics of botanical nationalism, biopiracy and plant migration and invasion, and Neutrality as an Agent (on show Sep 5-30), a video installation and photography exhibition at the CNR pop-up gallery space in Braamfontein by Denise Bertschi that explores Switzerland’s policy of neutrality. Also on the programme is Museum of Lungs, a musical documentary performance by writer Stacy Hardy which is based on her own personal experience of living with un-diagnosed TB (showing Sep 6-9 at Market Theatre) and a collaborative jazz performance by Benedikt Reising, Thandi Ntuli, Shane Cooper and Marlon Witbooi at The Orbit on Sep 19. Find our more here.

6. Old Masters / New Realities at TMRW Gallery 

On show until Oct 27
The Mixed Reality Workshop (TMRW) reopens on Wed Sep 5 at its new space in Keyes Art Mile with a digital art exhibition that gives a modern spin on South African art history. Featuring the works of old masters and contemporary South African artists, the exhibition pairs new media works created by Wayne Barker and Lady Skollie in response to historic masterpieces by J.H. Pierneef and Gerard Sekoto. Open Wed September 5 at 19:45 at Keyes Art Mile, Rosebank. 

Tracey Rose – Lucies Fur Version 1-1-1 – I Annunciazione After Fra Angelico circa 1434

7. Centennial exhibition at Sanlam Art Lounge 

On show until Dec 14
Celebrating its 100th anniversary financial services group Sanlam presents a special art exhibition (on show until Dec 14) of masterpieces from its extensive corporate art collection. The Centennial exhibition presents 70 paintings, drawings and sculptures by some of South Africa’s most important artists of the past century including Irma Stern, Dumile Feni, Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, Penny SiopisChristo Coetzee, Gerard Sekoto, Sydney Kumalo and JH PierneefSanlam curator Stefan Hundt is leading guided tours of the exhibition on Wed Sep 5 at 16:00 and 18:00, and on Fri Sep 7 at 10:00, 14:00 and 16:00. On show Sep 5 to Dec 14 at Sanlam Art Lounge, Sanlam Building (6th floor), 11 Alice Ln, Sandton Central. Find out more here. 

8. R1 and Louis de Villiers at Kalashnikovv Gallery

On show from Sep 8 until Sep 29
One of South Africa’s most admired street artists R1 brings his unique tape artworks to Braamfontein’s Kalshnikovv Gallery this month. As a street artist R1 combines objects, found materials and site specific locations to transform city spaces. One of his favourite materials is barrier tape, typically used to demarcate ‘no-go areas’. The works on show at the gallery have originated from large scale barrier-tape street installations that R1 has installed in the city, using tape to create colourful geometric lines and patterns that when assembled together become singular-formed artworks. Also on show is a solo exhibition of new drawings and paintings by Louis de Villiers (previously known as Skullboy). Opening event Sat Sep 8 at 10:00. The exhibition is on show at Kalashnikovv until the end of September.

Botanical Dreams, 2017 by Uriel Orlow from the multimedia art exhibition Theatrum Botanicum

9. Offstage by Frances Goodman at SMAC Gallery 

On show Sep 8 – Oct 13
SMAC Gallery launches its new space at Keyes Art Mile on Sat Sep 8 at 11:00 with a brand new exhibition by Frances Goodman. Concerned with the politics of appearance and the power of the social media, beauty and fashion industries to influence how women feel about themselves, Goodman’s embroidered artworks and shimmering portraits made entirely from sequins interrogate the portrayal of female beauty and the extent to which dancing, dressing up, and performing in private can be a liberating act. Opening event Sat Sep 8 at 11:00 at SMAC Gallery at Keyes Art Mile, Rosebank. On show until Oct 13. Find out more here. Pictured top: Frances Goodman – Lickety Lick 2018 (Hand-stitched sequins, canvas, foam). Copyright France Goodman, image courtesy of SMAC Gallery


10. Strauss & Co Art Hub at Keyes Art Mile

Open from Sep 5 – 9
This week Keyes Art Mile joins forces with leading auction house Strauss & Co to present the Strauss & Co Art Hub. In the atrium of the iconic Trumpet building Strauss & Co will be hosting a curated art lounge with selected artworks from their upcoming Cape Town and Joburg live auctions on display, which is complemented by a fascinating programme of free art talks and lectures.  On Wed Sep 5 at 17:30 for 18:00 join in the Talking Art evening where the world’s largest contemporary African art institution Zeitz MOCAA is in the spotlight. On Fri Sep 7 at 10:00 Senior Art Specialist, Dr Alastair Meredith, and Executive Director, Susie Goodman present a talk on How an Auction Works which is followed at 11:30 by a lecture on The Life & Times of Christo Coetzee by Senior Art Specialist, Wilhelm van Rensburg who will also be leading a lecture at the St Teresa’s Art Festival on Sta Sep 8. The Strauss & Co Art Hub is open at Keyes Art Mile from Sep 5-9.

11. FNB Joburg Art Fair

Open from Sep 7 – 9 
From Sep 7 – 9 the FNB Joburg Art Fair, one of Joburg’s art calendar highlights, attracts up to 10,000 people for a major art and social event, showcasing impressive contemporary art from South Africa, and across the African continent, that includes sculpture, painting, photography, prints and multimedia installations from more than 60 galleries. Highlights of this year’s fair include a new installation by 2018 FNB Art Prize winner Haroon Gunn-Salie and works by this year’s featured artist Billie Zangewa, known for her exquisite images made from hand-stitched silk. Also look out for the art fair’s free talks programme happening at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square on Sat Sep 8. The fair is open from Fri Sep 7 to Sun Sep 9 at Sandton Convention Centre. Tickets cost R150. Find out more here.

Artwork by FNB JoburgArtFair Featured Artist Billie Zangewa

12. St Teresa’s Art Festival 

Sat Sep 8
This family-friendly art festival on Sat Sep 8, a partnership between the St Teresa’s School and Keyes Art Mile, promises a packed art talks programme plus art workshops for kids and teenagers plus pop-up art exhibitions and an art sale of fine art prints and ceramics. The art workshops cover a wide variety of mediums ranging from painting to printmaking, screen-printing, origami and watercolour and cost R40-R250 (including materials, book online). Speakers on the art talks programme include artists Marco Cianfanelli, Lady SkollieThenjiwe Nkosi, Hannelie Coetzee and Rasty Knayles, art historian Wilhelm van Rensburg and curator Aysha Waja (entrance to the talks is included your ticket)Sat Sep 8 from 09:00-16:00 at St Teresa’s School and Keyes Art Mile on Keyes Avenue, Rosebank. Tickets R120, Kids R60. Find out more here.

13. Tours of the Spier Arts Trust collection at Villa Arcadia 

Thu Sep 6 and Sat Sep 15
This September don’t miss one of two opportunities to visit the spectacular 1906 Herbert Baker-designed mansion Villa Arcadia, which belongs to the Hollard group and is the location for the outstanding Spier Arts Trust contemporary art collection. On Thu Sep 6 at 12:00 Hollard’s art collection curators lead a guided art walkabout of the heritage home (email to book your place on the tour). On Sat Sep 15 at 10:30 the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation pays a visit to Villa Arcadia as part of the Hidden Parktown walking tour which also visits the nearby Edwardian mansion The Pines. Tickets for the Joburg Heritage tour cost R70, find out more about the Johannesburg Heritage Weekend and book your tickets here.


Neutrality as Agent

14. First Thursdays Braamfontein & Rosebank 

Thu Sep 6
Highlights of this month’s First Thursday art party in Braamfontein on Thu Sep 6 include: a free performance by internationally renowned pianist Kathleen Tagg and students from the Wits Music faculty at Wits Art Museum (from 19:00), house and soul DJs at the Puma x #SelectSessions party at the Puma Select concept store, and a new pop-up installation and exhibition (pictured) at the CNR Project space led by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Meanwhile in Rosebank the centre of all the action is always of course the Keyes Art Mile street party with its live music, pop-up bars and food trucks and a chance to see this month’s latest art installations in the Keyes Art Mile atrium. Down the road at Bolton Corner look out for a new photo exhibition by photographer Kgomotso Neto from Umuzi photo club and the launch of the exhibition Phenome-non-logical Archive by James Reed at Priest Gallery.

15. The Unofficial Art Fair after party at The Tennis Club 

Sat Sep 8
Curated by Kalashnikovv Gallery and Negiste Yesside Johnson this year’s unofficial FNB JoburgArtFair after party is happening at The Tennis Club in Ellis Park on Sat Sep 8. The lineup for the evening includes an exciting selection of local DJs and visual artists including this year’s FNB Art Prize winner Haroon Gunn-Salie, Lady Skollie and Abri de Swardt (aka DJ Gay Verby). Sat Sep 8 from 20:00 at The Tennis Club, Ellis Park. Entrance is R70 or free if you visit the Kalashnikovv booth at the FNB JoburgArtFair. More info here.

See more at Art Week Joburg.

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