11 Art & Design Exhibitions You Should See In JHB Right Now

There’s still time to catch some of the year’s most exciting exhibitions.

Jody Paulsen, Supplied

Johannesburg’s schools are closing, and soon workplaces will be too, but there’s still lots to see and do in the City of Gold. Many of Jozi’s art galleries are keeping their doors open for the festive season, so make the most out of the last days of 2018 by exploring the ones you might’ve missed in the year-end rush.

If you’re struggling with gifts this year, there’s also a lot to buy for the person who thinks they have it all. Here are a few exhibitions we think you shouldn’t sleep on this year: 

1. All Your Faves Are Problematic at Johannesburg Art Gallery (stays open)

Khwezi Gule — the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG)’s new curator-in-chief — has exhumed the gallery’s archive in a quest to get us thinking differently about the collection’s objects in their cleverly titled new show, All Your Faves Are Problematic. It’s open every day, except Mondays, Christmas and New Year's Day. 

For details about the exhibition and the JAG, head here

2. Isango at Stevenson (closes 14/12/2018)

Make sure you head to Stevenson in Braamfontein to experience the long-awaited return exhibition of the legendary Nicholas Hlobo. ‘This is a continuation of those energy lines that I explore in flat surfaces,’ Hlobo says of the new body of work. ‘I’m still stitching, but the material I’m using is an alloy that you heat, so I’m stitching with metal rather than stitching with ribbon.’ Isango runs until 18 Jan. 

To visit Isango at Stevenson Johannesburg, head here for details. 

3. The Art of Lithography at Wits Art Museum (closes 15/12/2018) 

There’s not much time left to see WAM’s beautiful The Art of Lithography: A Collaborative Expression of LL Editions, which explores the printmaking of 24 young artists who have worked with printmaker Joe Legate of LL Editions since it opened in 2013. It stays open for a short while longer in January, so put it at the top of your list of must-sees. (picture via James Delaney

For more about the exhibition, head to WAM's website here

4. Water Me at SMAC (closes 22/12/2018)

Ruminate on the transience of life and material success in the new body of work by ‘ever-lasting millennial’ Jody Paulsen at his eye-bogglingly colourful and explosive exhibition, Water Me, which just opened at SMAC gallery in Rosebank. It’s on until 19 February,  so there is still a bit of time next year to view it fully, or return for more magic if you want to. 

For opening times and dates check Jody Paulsen's page on the SMAC website. 

5. One Day We Were All Fish and The Earth's Belly at Goodman Gallery (closes 22/12/2018) 

Immerse yourself in the trippy scented installation that forms the centrepiece of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s first solo exhibition in South Africa. The work explores the nature of life, encouraging visitors to be present and relax. Neto recently even held a yoga session in the gallery to commemorate the opening weekend, so follow Goodman Gallery on social media for updates about future events while the exhibition is up. It’s on until 19 January 2019. 

Head to the Goodman Gallery website for more. 

6. A Note From Error at Everard Read Gallery | A03 2034/538/18 at Circa Gallery (both close at noon on 21/12/2018)

Two major solo exhibitions by two of South Africa’s most exciting artists — and less than a few metres across the road from one another. Check out A Note From Error (pictured) by cultural critic Blessing Ngobeni at Everard Read in Rosebank, and then step across the road to see the colliding shapes and forms of Andrzej Urbanski in A03 2034/538/18

Check out Everard Read on Facebook for more. 

7. N.’s Apparatus: the art of life, fantasies and stories told by trees at JHB City Library (stays open except for public holidays)

Obsessive xylophile Allen Laing presents his first solo exhibition and culmination of his masters thesis at the architecturally wonderful Johannesburg City Library. Laing’s wooden creations explore what happens when fantasy, play, storytelling and humour make their way into the art and life of two fictional characters that he has dreamt into existence. The exhibition’s run has been extended until 20 January, so make sure you see it. 

Follow Allen on Instagram for more. 

8. Black and White Contemporary at Kim Sacks Gallery (stays open except for public holidays)

Some of the continent’s most brilliant craftspeople present collections of extraordinary objects made in black and white for Kim Sacks Gallery’s new exhibition. Expect classic beaded Yoruba chairs from Nigeria presented alongside contemporary beadwork by the Marigold Collective, textiles by the likes of Skinny LaMinx and Ronel Jordaan, and then ceramics and jewellery by some of the most exciting makers in their fields. The exhibition closes on 10 January 2019.

Make sure you also check out Kim Sacks' beautiful Parktown Ridge home, featured in our December issue, here

9. Letters To My 22-Year-Old Self at Absa Gallery (stays open except public holidays)

Letters To My 22-Year-Old Self, currently on show at the Absa Gallery, gathers artworks donated by big names such as Mikhael Subotzky, Lady Skollie, Colbert Mashile, Diane Victor and Moffat Takadiwa alongside letters written by themselves, and others, which each offer advice to their 22-year-old selves. A must see.

Read more about curator Banele Khoza's vision for the exhibition here. 

10. Code Request at Kalashnikovv Gallery (stays open until 22/12/2018)

Get lost in the blue and white pictogram codes and ciphers of Code Request — Russian artist Elizaveta Rukavishnikova’s solo exhibition that stays open at Kalashnikovv’s Braamfontein space for the holidays. Check out Kalashnikovv on Facebook for more. 

11. What More Can I Say at Artivist Gallery (stays open)

There’s still time to catch this retrospective looking back at the iconic posters and protest works of Zimbabwe-born artist Kudzanai Chiurai aka Kudzi, as well as to preview some of his new body of portraits at The Artivist in Braamfontein. It’s a great place to grab a meal and a drink, so put some time aside for this one. 

Check them out online for more.