A visit to Cape Town Art Fair

From 26 February to 1 March, Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront became the hub for contemporary art when visitors strolled along the yacht basin, from the main venue, the Avenue, through to the North Wharf. Visitors had a sense of being on a campus, with the chance to not only visit all the galleries and their exhibits, but also to take part in public art and installations along the way.

The Cape Town Art Fair Guest Curator was RoseLee Goldberg, the founder of Performa, the leading organisation dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of 20th century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century. She discussed the importance of live performance by visual artists as major museums in New York, London and Paris build dedicated spaces for their new performance programmes

The author of the seminal book Performance Art, from Futurism to the Present, Goldberg explained why she launched the first biennial dedicated to live performance by artists in New York in 2004 while Matthew Blackman, the current Director of the Association for Visual Arts and editor of ArtThrob, was curating the Cape Town Art Fair Talks programme with talks as diverse as, A conversation between Africa and Europe, Ancient Art and Contemporary Art; The rise of interest in contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora; Freedom of Expression: The rise of comic art & a history of protest; Continuing dialogue; Widening Access to the Contemporary Art Market; Camouflage and Attendant Ideas and others addressing the contemporary art market.

As part of the Art in Public Spaces initiative, a carefully curated selection of outdoor installations occupied spaces along the Art Avenue and the North Wharf that gave everyone a chance to engage with art in a fresh, three-dimensional manner.

The Cape Town Art Fair coincided with the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) Scheryn Pavilion’s various openings, the Design Indaba and the Guild International Design Fair. William Kentridge’s performance of his chamber opera Refuse the Hour at the City Hall and at the Iziko Museum of South Africa his display The Refusal of Time, Time and Again by Penny Siopis at the South African National Gallery and There’s Something I Must Tell You, by Sue Williamson at the Slave Lodge.

In addition some interesting books were launched at the Cape Town Art Fair with Dylan Lewis and his brand new book, An Untamed Force. Lewis’ sculptures are fast becoming well-known landmarks in South Africa and this publication brings his photographic record up to date. Known for his diverse exploration of oil painting and stop-frame animation, Nigel Mullins latest book, Chaotic Region showcased his newest works.

South African Artists at Home, the latest work from author Paul Duncan, gives the reader a glimpse into the homes and private locations of some of South Africa’s most loved artists and Making Art in Africa was launched by Sir Robert Loder.

The 2015 Cape Town Art Fair was much more than an Art Fair, it simply was a great art experience at a special time during a week of art, more art and art and design in the Mother City.

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