The Johannesburg art scene, including its street art, is a vibrant part of this dynamic city, known for celebrating the work of local artists and those from southern Africa and the continent beyond. Using Melrose Arch as your base, you don’t need to travel more than 10km to find world-class fine art originating close to home.
As the name suggests, the Melrose Gallery is located within the Melrose Arch mixed-use precinct. It exhibits works by some of South Africa’s most respected and up-and-coming talents. The space is known for making art accessible – it’s inclusive and nonintimidating, and exhibits a wide range of different mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, limited edition prints and ceramics.
Exhibitions and artworks often “spill out” onto the surrounding streets and sidewalks, thanks to the precinct being fully pedestrianised. The gallery becomes even more expansive by flowing into public areas with ever-changing pop-up galleries, large sculptural works, performance art, exhibitions and installations.
Location High Street, Melrose Arch
Johannesburg street art can hold its own against graffiti capitals of the world like New York and Berlin. It commands wide respect and some of the city’s most popular guided walks include graffiti tours and workshops. Click here
Established in Johannesburg in 1966, the Goodman Gallery works with influential contemporary artists who want to stimulate social transformation. It focuses on significant artists – both established and emerging – from southern Africa and the greater African continent, and artists who engage with Africa.
The Goodman’s projects and initiatives incorporate a broad spectrum of creative people.
- Curatorial projects.
- Platforms for new and independent production and thinking.
- Progressive and innovative exhibitions, installations and performances.
- Non-profit projects beyond the gallery walls, in response to a lack of funding for local arts programmes.
- Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg
- Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town
Distance from Melrose Arch 2.5km
STANDARD BANK GALLERY
In downtown Johannesburg, the Standard Bank Gallery, has established itself as a world-class art venue, since opening in 1990. Its regular programme includes exhibitions by top local talent, it often hosts major international shows, and its excellent acoustics mean you can also take in concerts and recitals here.
The Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year exhibits here and often goes on to international fame. Previous winners include William Kentridge (1987) and Pippa Skotnes (1993). The gallery is also known for its retrospectives by South African masters including Irma Stern and Gerard Sekoto.
The Marc Chagall exhibition in 2000, was the first time that original works by a 20th century European artist were shown in South Africa. In 2006, it staged the record-breaking Picasso and Africa show. One of South Africa’s international art superstars, Marlene Dumas, had her first solo exhibition on home soil here in 2007.
Location Frederick Street, Marshalltown
Distance from Melrose Arch 10km
EVERARD READ & CIRCA GALLERIES
Dating back to 1913, Everard Read is Africa’s oldest commercial art gallery. It exhibits paintings and sculptures by South Africa’s finest modern and contemporary artists, showcases southern African talent, helps develop young art careers and selects acclaimed international artists.
CIRCA is Everard Read’s sister gallery, constructed alongside the main gallery in 2009. Its elliptical structure sits on a narrow plot of land and the façade is made up of 400 aluminium “fins”, each standing 10m tall. At night the structure puts on a light show that transforms it into a very different kind of exhibition space.
- Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg
- Portswood Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Distance from Melrose Arch 1.8km