Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 00:00

2010 marked the centenary of the Foundation Collection of the gallery, celebrated with a superb exhibition of work from it, and now we are moving towards 10 Nov 2015 when the Sir Edwin Luytens building is officially 100 years old. Leading up to November the gallery will be filled with exhibitions and then a series of installations will take place, all culminating in a night of festivity and celebration.

As a part of the efforts to make sure that JAG is in glamorous shape for her centenary, her leaking roofs are being deconstructed and reconstructed under heritage supervision. Concurrently, the air conditioning is being repaired. The City of Johannesburg (COJ) has allocated an amount of R24,000,000 for the restoration of the buildings which will take place over three years (2014 – 2017). This amount however is not sufficient and fundraising is ongoing in order to complete refurbishments.

The history of the building is fascinatingly explored in a publication that will be made available at the time. This is not simply a PR book focused on the Gallery’s successes over the years, but also seriously interrogates the challenges faced by staff and visitors over the years. The book is edited by Tracey Murinik and gives a balanced account of JAG’s problems and achievements.

Leading up to the big day in November, the curatorial team will strive to exhibit as much of JAGs acquisitions as possible, and fill the walls exclusively with work from the collections. There will be various exhibitions including a display of “the new masters”. These include South African artists such as Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Ernest Mancoba, Alexis Preller, Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss, Maggie Laubser, Dumile Feni, Gerard Bhengu and Peter Clarke.

Another exhibition to look forward to will delve into the Foundation Collection to showcase work by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their contemporaries – including one of the Gallery’s most prominent works, Regina Cordium by Rossetti. Another intriguing and more contemporary show, Work on Paper, will exhibit a special take on the theme of the metropolis. This exhibition aims to highlight, celebrate and interrogate JAG’s defining context – the city, and Johannesburg in particular. Artists include: Sam Nhlengethwa and Norman Catherine.

The JAG collection of African Traditional work is widely respected, and will also be on display. The exhibition proposed around this collection is to show off approximately 20 “masterpieces” within and across all of the sub-collections, including the recently acquired Maritz Collection.

Finally, and bringing everything bang up to date, is an exhibition which will fill the entire Meyer/Piennaar gallery in the basement, which will exclusively look at electronic and digital work. Artists to see in this exciting contemporary show include: Mohau Modisakeng, Donna Kukama and William Kentridge.  

The centenary celebration, and the lead-up to it, is not just about a one night party. We see it as a n opportunity to inject much-needed energy and positivity into the JAG space itself, and its immediate environs. JAG has over the years adapted to the changing nature of its inner-city home, as well as adapted to the changing nature of South Africa as a country, and the ever-evolving nature of its art.  Our mission is to constantly ask ourselves who our audience is and strive to bring that audience to the gallery. Museums all over the world are changing in similar ways, and JAG is following suit.





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Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 15:51

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