Johannesburg Art Gallery – Seven Images

JAG – the Johannesburg Art Gallery – is, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, a once-grand edifice, marooned like an old freighter on the manic reef of downtown Johannesburg. You enter (for free) through a turnstile, and as you do so, the last survivor of the shipwreck emerges from the wheelhouse beside the door,…

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Tuinhuys, in Black and White

Tuinhuys (the Garden House) is the Cape Town office of the Presidency, a lovely piece of architecture with a history that goes back, as everything does in South Africa, to slavery and colonialism. It was from here that FW de Klerk declared the end of apartheid; it was from here that Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe and…

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Reflections on Tillmans

The work of Wolfgang Tillmans, a German photographer, seems perfectly housed in the downtown, chaotic, teeming environment in which the Johannesburg Art Gallery has washed up, like a shipwreck on the beach after Fukushima, faintly radioactive. Much of Tillman’s art is seemingly artless – and sometimes, in his work, to my eye at least, art…

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Sea Washing

On the north side of the quay, just across the way from the Cape Grace Hotel, is the Victoria Basin, and a dry-dock where Taiwanese trawlers come to have their paintwork and their bodywork done – like elderly ladies at a beauty parlour. It is a study in contrasts. A contrast I like even more,…

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Various Moments

At the Bryanston Organic Market, these bees seemed to take seriously the organic, back-to nature meme, crawling all over the sticky cakes; in the Company Gardens in Cape Town, a seagull taking flight unsettled the classical stillness and calm of the lily pond and fountain; Rob at the Tuinhuys gates (the Tuinhuys is the official…

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Tea with Mother

I mentioned in a previous post (July 13) that Rob and I, on our trip to Cape Town, had treated my mom to High Tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, at the V&A Waterfront. Here are some photos from that rather yummy and elegant and leisurely ceremony.   I like these photos for capturing a…

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Turbine Hall Art Fair

We have been up and down the country, out and about, these past few weeks – Joburg and Cape Town, art fairs and high teas – so time for a little catch up. On Sunday last week we were at the Turbine Hall Art Fair in downtown Johannesburg. Last year, you might remember, we saw…

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Impotence and Gasworks

My wife said, on reading my Last Post, ‘It looks like you’re telling the whole world you’re impotent. And you’re not.’ Bless her. Impartial, naturally, and blunt (Polish Catholic American Canadian), I have to agree with her. There is no impotence here. Impotence is absent. But let me tell you what there’s lots of –…

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Two guest rooms and a washer

Reflecting on the indignities and rewards of middle age, the American author David Sedaris (I got this from the FT) writes, ‘Yes, the washer on my penis has worn out, leaving me to dribble urine long after I’ve zipped my trousers back up. But I have two guest rooms.’ And I think, as 65 peers…

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Life goes on, and then it gets better

It has been a busy week. Last weekend we were in Cape Town, Rob and I, staying in Constantia with my mom: high tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, on a perfect afternoon at the V&A Waterfront, was a treat for us all. Sunday it was brunch with old friends Ian and Pam at the…

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Canada Day, yeah!

For my first Canada Day as a brand-new permanent resident, Rob took me off to Pelee Island, on the ferry, where we watched a Canada Day parade as bright, as happy, as easy-going and genuine as a village fete or a child’s birthday party. It was infectious and entertaining and innocent – simply lovely. This…

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