Art Galleries and Museums of Cape Town

The Art Lover’s Guide to Cape Town

Cape Town, a city that offers an art scene as vibrant and diverse as its landscape. This guide is your portal into the heart of Cape Town’s artistic soul, guiding you through galleries, museums, and the living galleries of its streets. Whether you’re an aficionado of the avant-garde or a devotee of the classics, the Mother City’s art scene has something to enchant everyone.

The Cape Town Art Fair: A Gateway to African Art

Phone: 021 702 2280
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The Cape Town Art Fair, officially known as Investec Cape Town Art Fair (ICTAF), has rapidly established itself as a leading art event in Africa, showcasing contemporary art from the continent and beyond. This prestigious event typically takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), providing a platform for galleries, collectors, artists, and art enthusiasts to engage in a vibrant cultural exchange.

Since its inception, the Cape Town Art Fair has grown in stature and size, reflecting the burgeoning interest in African contemporary art on the global stage. It started with the aim of celebrating the rich artistic heritage of the continent while providing a window for the world to witness the dynamic and diverse artistic talent emerging from Africa and its diaspora. Over the years, the fair has expanded its footprint, including a wide range of art forms such as painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, and more, from both established and emerging artists.

  • Gallery Exhibitions: The fair features a curated selection of galleries from around the world, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary art. It’s an opportunity to see works by leading artists and discover new talent.

  • Talks and Walkabouts: A series of engaging talks, panel discussions, and guided walkabouts are organized as part of the fair, offering insights into current art trends, market dynamics, and artistic processes.

  • Art Platforms: Special sections and platforms within the fair highlight specific aspects of the art world, such as digital art, performance art, and young artists’ work, providing a comprehensive view of contemporary art’s scope.

The Cape Town Art Fair attracts a diverse audience, including Art Collectors and Investors looking to add to their collections or discover new investment opportunities.

The Cape Town Art Fair not only serves as a significant event in the art calendar but also acts as a catalyst for the local art scene, promoting Cape Town as a key cultural and design hub in Africa. It plays a crucial role in stimulating the local and continental art market, providing exposure for African artists on an international platform, and encouraging dialogue and collaboration across the global art community.

It’s known to be a dynamic event that celebrates contemporary art’s power and diversity, making it a must-attend for anyone interested in the evolving landscape of African and global art and we would highly recommend you make a turn if you are in the country over that time, further details can be found here.

Goodman Gallery in Cape Town

The Goodman Gallery: Contemporary Art

Phone: 021 462 7573
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The Goodman Gallery holds a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate contemporary art, not just in South Africa but on the international stage as well. Established in Johannesburg in 1966 by Linda Givon (née Goodman), the gallery has played a pivotal role in shaping the contemporary art scene in South Africa and beyond, fostering a dialogue around important social and political issues through the medium of art.

It was founded during the apartheid era, a period marked by intense social and political turmoil in South Africa. From its inception, the gallery was committed to challenging the oppressive status quo, providing a platform for artists to express resistance, critique injustices, and envision possibilities for change. Linda Givon’s vision was more than  to showcase art and to use the gallery as a space for activism and dialogue, a legacy that continues to this day.

Over the years, the Goodman Gallery has represented some of South Africa’s most prominent artists, including William Kentridge, David Goldblatt, and Sam Nhlengethwa, among others. It has also expanded its roster to include international artists, thereby fostering a global dialogue on pressing issues.

The gallery is known for its dynamic and thought-provoking exhibitions that span a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and video art. These exhibitions often tackle themes such as identity, race, gender, and social justice, reflecting the gallery’s ongoing commitment to addressing complex societal issues through art.

It has also participates in major international art fairs, further extending its influence and reach. By presenting works that challenge and engage audiences, the Goodman Gallery contributes to important global conversations around art and society.

Originally based in Johannesburg, it has expanded its presence to include a location in Cape Town, and more recently, London. This expansion reflects the gallery’s growing influence in the global art market and its commitment to promoting African artists internationally.

The gallery attracts a wide audience, including art collectors, curators, academics, and the general public. Its exhibitions and events are designed to spark conversation, inspire thought, and provoke change, appealing to anyone interested in the intersection of art, politics, and society.

The gallery’s impact extends beyond the exhibitions it hosts; it plays a crucial role in the art ecosystem, supporting artists’ careers, contributing to critical discourse on contemporary art, and engaging with community-based projects and educational initiatives.

The legacy of the Goodman Gallery is one of courage, innovation, and activism. Through its unwavering support for artists who challenge and interrogate the status quo, the gallery has cemented its place as the home of artistic excellence and social engagement. Its commitment to promoting meaningful dialogue and change through art continues to inspire and influence the contemporary art world both in South Africa and globally.

 

Artscape Theatre Centre

Phone: 021 410 9800
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The Artscape Theatre Centre, situated in the centre of Cape Town, South Africa, is a prime hub for the performing arts, playing a critical role in the cultural and creative landscape of the city and beyond. With a history that mirrors the nation’s tumultuous past and its journey towards inclusivity and diversity, the Artscape Theatre Centre stands provides artistic expression blended through cultural exchange.

Originally opened in 1971 as the Nico Malan Theatre, named after a former administrator of the Cape Province, the venue was a symbol of the apartheid era’s exclusivity, catering primarily to the white population.

However, with the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the theatre underwent a significant transformation, both in spirit and name, to become the Artscape Theatre Centre in 2001. This change reflected a new commitment to accessibility, diversity, and the celebration of all South African cultures.

The Artscape Theatre Centre is home to a variety of performance spaces, including the Opera House, which is one of the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Theatre, a smaller, more intimate venue, and the Arena, which offers a versatile space for avant-garde and experimental productions. Additionally, the complex houses rehearsal rooms, workshops, offices, and conference facilities, making it a comprehensive environment for the performing arts.

The Centre is renowned for hosting a wide array of performances, ranging from opera, ballet, and theatre to musicals, contemporary dance, and jazz concerts. Its programming reflects a commitment to showcasing both established and emerging South African talents, alongside international acts.

Beyond entertainment, the Artscape Theatre Centre is deeply invested in the socio-economic development and education of the South African community. Through its numerous outreach and development programs, the Centre aims to nurture young talent, promote arts education, and ensure the accessibility of the arts for all, particularly historically disadvantaged communities. Programs like the Artscape Youth Classical Music Programme and the Rural Outreach initiative exemplify this commitment.

The Artscape Theatre Centre draws a diverse audience, from theatre aficionados and music lovers to students and tourists. Its inclusive programming and community engagement efforts ensure that the Centre is accessible to a wide demographic, including those who might not traditionally have access to the performing arts.

The venue also places a strong emphasis on accessibility for people with disabilities, offering features like Braille in elevators, wheelchair-friendly seating, and auditory assistance devices. This approach underscores the Centre’s vision of arts for all, regardless of physical or socio-economic barriers.

As a cultural institution, the venue’s legacy is one of resilience, transformation, and an unwavering dedication to the arts. It continues to play a pivotal role in Cape Town’s cultural scene, contributing to the city’s reputation as a vibrant and creative hub.

Looking forward, the Artscape Theatre Centre aims to continue its mission of fostering the arts, supporting artists, and promoting cultural inclusivity and diversity. By doing so, it enriches the lives of individuals and contributes to the broader social and cultural fabric of South Africa. Click here for more information on what shows are on offer.


Zeitz MOCAA Cape Town
Zeitz MOCAA, A Modern Marvel
Phone: 087 350 4777
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The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town is a ground-breaking institution in the global art scene, and especially significant on the African continent for its dedication to contemporary art. Housed in a magnificently transformed grain silo complex on the V&A Waterfront, Zeitz MOCAA stands at the forefront of adaptive reuse in architecture and the growing prominence of African artists in the contemporary art world.

The museum was established through a partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz, a former CEO of Puma and a major collector of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. The idea was to create a public institution that would collect, preserve, research, and exhibit cutting-edge contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Opened in September 2017, the museum is named after Zeitz, who provided his extensive collection on long-term loan as the founding collection of the museum.

The transformation of the historic grain silo, which was once the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa and a symbol of the country’s agricultural economy, into a museum was led by the renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick.

Heatherwick Studio’s innovative design approach retained and highlighted the silo’s industrial heritage while creating a spectacular interior space that includes a central atrium shaped like a grain kernel. The building’s unique structure and the intricate play of light within its cavernous spaces make it a true architectural landmark, a masterpiece, and a must-visit destination in Cape Town.

The MOCAA hosts an impressive array of permanent and temporary exhibitions spread over several floors, with over 100 gallery spaces. The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most prominent contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora, such as William Kentridge, Nandipha Mntambo, and Julie Mehretu, among others.

Its exhibitions cover a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and installation art, offering a diverse and in-depth look at the contemporary art landscape of Africa and beyond.

Beyond its role as a showcase for contemporary art, Zeitz MOCAA is committed to education and cultural enrichment. It offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and public engagements aimed at encouraging critical thinking, creativity, and appreciation for contemporary art. The museum seeks to make art accessible to all, with initiatives designed to engage the broader community, including free access days and targeted outreach programs.

The MOCAA appeals to a wide audience, from art lovers and collectors to scholars, students, and tourists. It plays a crucial role in educating the public about contemporary African art and serves as a platform for dialogue and exchange between Africa and the rest of the world. The museum’s commitment to accessibility is evident in its efforts to welcome diverse audiences, including those who may not typically frequent art museums.

As the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world, Zeitz MOCAA has quickly established itself as a key cultural institution, both locally and internationally. It not only showcases the rich and dynamic art of Africa and its diaspora but also challenges traditional narratives and fosters a deeper understanding of contemporary societal issues through art. Looking ahead, Zeitz MOCAA aims to continue expanding its collection, supporting artists, and engaging with communities, reinforcing its position as a beacon of cultural innovation and artistic exploration.

To close off, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is a vibrant cultural hub that celebrates the power of contemporary art to inspire, challenge, and transform. Its existence marks a significant moment in the recognition and appreciation of African artists on the world stage, and it stands as a bold statement of Africa’s dynamic role in the global art community. For more information regarding opening hours, current exhibitions, location and pricing, click here.

 

The Iziko South African National Gallery

Phone: 021 481 3800 
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Also located in the center of Cape Town, the Iziko  is a premier space for art and cultural expression in South Africa. Established in 1871, it is the country’s oldest art gallery, hosting an extensive collection that spans European, African, British, and contemporary artworks, including paintings, sculpture, photography, and textiles.

The gallery showcases a diverse array of permanent and temporary exhibitions, highlighting South African art’s historical and contemporary movements. Its collection includes works by prominent South African artists and seeks to represent the country’s rich cultural heritage and complex history through art.

The National Gallery plays a significant educational role, offering lectures, workshops, and guided tours aimed at engaging the public and promoting an appreciation for art across all ages. It strives to be accessible to a wide audience, including local communities, tourists, and art enthusiasts.

As a custodian of South African art, the gallery contributes to the national identity, reflecting on past struggles, celebrating progress, and inspiring dialogue about the future through the lens of art. It stands as a testament to the country’s resilience, diversity, and creativity.

The South African National Gallery is a vital cultural institution that enriches the country’s artistic landscape, offering insights into South Africa’s history and contemporary life through artworks. For more information click here.

 

Street Art Tours

Street Art Tours in Cape Town offer an immersive journey into the vibrant world of urban art, showcasing the city’s rich tapestry of graffiti, murals, and street art. These tours provide a unique lens through which to explore Cape Town’s diverse neighborhoods, highlighting the work of local and international artists while delving into the social and political contexts that inspire their creations.

Experience and Insight

Participants of Street Art Tours are guided through the streets of neighborhoods like Woodstock, Salt River, and the East City, areas known for their dynamic street art scenes. These tours not only spotlight the artistic talent but also touch on the history and stories behind the artworks, offering a deeper understanding of the community and its cultural expressions.

Artistic and Cultural Engagement

The tours are an opportunity for engagement with the local art scene, often led by knowledgeable guides who are themselves artists or deeply involved in the street art community. This provides an insider’s perspective on the techniques, themes, and motivations behind the art, as well as discussions on the legality and ethics of street art.

Accessibility and Audience

Street Art Tours cater to a wide audience, from art enthusiasts and tourists to students and locals looking to see their city through a new lens. These tours are accessible, requiring no prior knowledge of art, and provide a fresh and engaging way to experience Cape Town’s urban culture.

Impact and Significance

By participating in a Street Art Tour, visitors contribute to the appreciation and preservation of street art as an important form of urban expression. These tours highlight the transformative power of art in public spaces, fostering a sense of community and sparking conversations around urban renewal, social issues, and cultural identity.

In summary, Street Art Tours in Cape Town offer a captivating exploration of the city’s urban landscape, where art becomes a bridge connecting communities, cultures, and visitors, enriching the understanding of Cape Town’s dynamic and diverse spirit.

A range of Street Art Tour Operators in Cape Town to choose from:

Cape Town’s art scene is a reflection of its history, its challenges, and its heart. It’s a place where every corner holds a story, every gallery a world, and every street a canvas.

For art lovers, the city offers a journey of discovery, a chance to see the world through a kaleidoscope of perspectives. Whether it’s through the hallowed halls of museums or the spirited streets of its neighbourhoods, Cape Town invites you to immerse yourself in its artistic soul.

About Century City Hotels

Whether you’re visiting the city for business, pleasure or both – we offer conveniently located Cape Town hotel accommodation ideally situated within easy reach of the Mother City’s top attractions, including its many art galleries.