It’s the Art Fair. I don’t usually blog pre- an event, preferring to experience it for myself before I tell anyone it’s worth doing. But the FNB Joburg Art Fair is a sure thing. Opening night (by invitation only) happens tonight and then from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon there’s art and more art, framed and named, performances, appearances, talks of all sorts and lots of other things in between.


I am predicting that one highlight of the Fair will be the talk by Chris Dercon, the keynote speaker, on “Audiences: How much do we really care”. Dercon is head of the Tate Modern and has fascinating views about the role of public museums. You can read more about Chris Dercon in the Wall Street Journal. He has been brought to the fair by the brilliant Goethe-Institut who recently won a BASA Award in “recognition of the institute’s contribution to the development and preservation of the arts in South Africa” and deserve the thanks and praise of this city (the mayor should give them a key) for the edgy cultural work they do. Dercon will be speaking on Saturday at 11.30am.


Another performance piece that I am looking forward to is by Lisa Jaffe of the clothing label Guillotine who, in collaboration with artist Mary Wafer, musician Joao Orecchia and Jillian Ross of the David Krut Workshop has produced “First Cut: Paper Scissors Block Print”, a work of art, clothing, woodcuts, hand-printed fabrics, sound and no doubt, judging from Jaffe’s oeuvre, beautiful and (not often you can say this) thought-provoking clothing. These take place on Friday at 5:30pm, Saturday at 1.30pm and 3pm and Sunday at 1.30pm.  


FIRST CUT Paper Scissors Block Print


Then there is also a great programme of sideshows scattered across the city including The Goodman Garage, a performance by Frances Goodman in collaboration with the Gallery on Sat from 10am – 5pm. You’ll have to contact the Goodman Gallery or the artist to get the address of the venue but the idea of an “art garage sale” that throws into question the value of artworks that disappear into storage and puts a spotlight on “alternative approaches to selling art” sounds quite enticing.


And as part of the Joburg Fringe there’s The Famous Bedtime Story! a piece involving people of Joburg who have been invited to “become eccentric/leading characters (or extras) in Joburg’s Famous Bedtime Story and have your portrait taken – by artist-photographer Johannes Dreyer – at the legendary unmade bed on the eastern edge of Johannesburg in Troyeville. If you (and friends and family singly / together) would like to pose for your portrait with the bed, please consider wearing pyjamas (or whatever you do or do not sleep in) and feel free to bring your own props, accessories and ideas – though they should have something to do with how you feel about bed and dreaming. Or waking up.” It’s not to be resisted. I have spent all week looking for the perfect pajamas. Full details.


Short version – It’s the Art Fair. Don’t miss it.


* The Joburg Art Fair is at the SANDTON CONVENTION CENTRE. dates/times: Friday, 23 September 11 AM – 7 PM, Saturday, 24 September 11 AM – 8 PM and Sunday, 25 September 10 AM – 4 PM. TICKET PRICES: R100 per person for a day pass, R20 per scholar on Friday (for schools who have made group bookings through Artlogic), R20 per student on Saturday (students to present valid student cards) Children under 12 get in free. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Photos of Ponte: Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse, Blue Ponte / Red Ponte I – IX, 2011

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