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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 – […]