The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Zeitz-MOCAA – is an instant architural landmark, both global and local, and an extraordinary addition to Cape Town’s cultural scene and to the V&A Waterfront.
Rob and I were lucky enough to get in on the opening weekend (there were 1 ½ hour line-ups, but we bought memberships, and skipped the queue) but the place was way too crowded to enjoy the artworks, and in any case the architecture itself was a thing of wonder.
So we wandered around, gazing up into the cathedral-like concrete flutes that rose towards the skylights, looking down the spiralling iron staircase and into the well of the cathedral, and I took a few photographs.
The structure itself is light-filled and airy, a honey-comb or corn cob, but the lines are so strong and dramatic, the architecture so bold, that I have chosen to adopt a more dramatic treatment.
My new photo blog is still under construction, so here are the images. Some or all of them are likely to be repeated, when the new blog is up. I hope you enjoy them here meanwhile.
Ok, so you’ve meandered through the Natal Midlands, you’ve stopped off for a coffee, or a glass of wine at Ardington Winery, you’ve pulled over to take photos of hills, of valleys, of dairy cows contentedly doing whatever it is that dairy cows do on an August morning or afternoon, and then you turn down a winding dirt road, and swing off into a driveway, and there – across a placid pond and beneath the bucolic hills in the distance – what do you find? You find the wildest, craziest, most lunatically imaginative art at Ardmore Ceramics.
Now, if you described to me the kinds of craziness that Ardmore gets up to – teapots and candlesticks and vases and bowls intertwined with psychedelic crocodiles and monkeys on LSD and humans on elephants and all kinds of fantastical contrivances individually crafted and hand-painted I would have said – well, that’s not my cup of tea. But the work at Ardmore is so inspirationally mad, so over the top, so out there, that all you can do is gawp, and admire, and wish you could afford to own a piece – just one piece, mind you, as that one piece would be enough to totally dominate your living room, if not blow it to pieces.
With each piece in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars, however, all we came away with was a couple of napkins and a whole lot of crazy photographs.
Not to be missed, if you’re in the Midlands.
44 Stanley is the place to be, on a chilly Saturday morning on the edge of downtown Johannesburg. A warren of small courtyards, art shops, craft shops, restaurants, it’s abuzz with the hip and the funky, old and young, a place for picking out fine hand-made chocolates at Chocoloza, ceramics at Storm in a Teacup (we bought two striking, black, nested bowls, with a long-handled jacaranda spoon, for under $20), linen at Mungo, furniture at Colony, or ordering a wood-fired pizza and a glass of wine at Il Giardino, where Rob and I sat by the Queen Anne stove last weekend, warming our backsides.
Just up the road is Linden, a faded suburb coming back to life, with a sprawl of coffee shops, antique shops, clothing shops, a beer-tasting room open to the street, featuring every kind of local micro-brewery, a cheese shop, and down the road from the main drag, old Bert’s Butchers, which has been there forever, where we bought the springbok shanks we fed to Kathy and Gareth last Sunday, and the best boerewors in town.
South Africa remains a country of contradictions – there is all the bad stuff, all the stuff that unnerves and depresses you – and then there is this great design, these funky neighbourhoods, there are these faded and jaded neighbourhoods and precincts being brought back to life by artists and entrepreneurs, and you think – this goddamned place has so much going for it!
Here are a few images, from 44 Stanley.
Port Carling is one of the epicentres of fine boat building in the Muskoka lakes area, as this interesting local blog elaborates. As I mentioned last week my partner, Rob, was doing some location scouting in the region some time back, for a TV series she was working on, one of the highlights of which – for me, anyway, as the spare part and photographer – was the time we spent with various boat-builders and canoe makers, talking about their craft, the history of the various styles and models and, most of all, simply eyeing and envying the beautiful vessels.
This first set of images is from Duke Boats in Port Carling, where we spent one wonderful morning. Other images will follow.
I say, ‘life is too short for bad design.’ Rob says it better: ‘design is everything.’ One of the things that becomes clearer, I think, as you get older, is that there’s no space for crap in your life – the crap of ideology, of sloppy thinking and clumsy, careless, jargon-fed language, no time for political dishonesty and equivocation, no time for the empty media noise and chatter that entangles our humanity and subverts authenticity.
And then there’s design – purity of form and concept, perfection of execution. Elegant as a theorem, necessary to our existence as clean air and water.
I came across this online design forum the other day, and thought I should share it.